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. . .

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. . .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.

Flogging Molly

music, pictures, Portland, recording No Comments »

I went to see Flogging Molly last night, for the first time, and I have to say that it was the most fun show I’ve ever been to.  I’ve never danced so much, or sweated so much before.  I was wearing three layers of shirts (undershirt and the T-shirt I was wearing, plus the FM T-shirt I bought last night) and they were all drenched by my own sweat and that of a myriad of other people.  Even my jeans were soaked clear through.  It was a total blast.  My friends and I were about four or five rows from the front, just to the left of center, and just on the edge of the mosh pit.  It was the perfect spot.

A different friend who came on her own (we weren’t able to find each other at the show) was brave enough to bring her camera and take a couple of pictures, and here they are.


She was to the right of me, and a tiny bit further back, but it seems like she had a better view.


She must have walked around a bit, because this was about what my view was like.   After I told her where I was, she sent me this picture and said there’s a decent chance I may be in it, based on my description.  So I like to think I’m in there somewhere.  :)

Man, I really smell horrible today, after the sweat-a-thon show last night.  I can smell myself as I’m sitting here.  I need to go take a shower now.  Yeesh.

IrishBand is playing a show down in StateCapitol tonight, for the first time, and we’re very much looking forward to it.

In other news, i may be getting a Tascam 4-track cassette recorder this weekend, for all of the archiving of Iron Horse (my first band) songs on my computer.  Very exciting!  How 1989 of me.  Hey, if it’s good enough for DJ Shadow, it’s certainly good enough for Iron Horse.

virgo and pisces

funny, music, Portland, true No Comments »

Last night, IrishBand had a great show at a venue called the Virgo and Pisces, and one of my friends drove up from his home on the coast to come see us.  He drove to town, got himself situated in his hotel room, and then called a cab to come pick him up.  He got a Russian cab driver, with a thick Russian accent.

Driver:  “Where you want to go?”

Friend:  “Virgo and Pisces.”

Driver:  “I do not know these streets.”

Friend:  “(takes a beat)  Oh, jeez, of course.  That’s the venue. THE Virgo and Pisces.  (laughs)  Twenty-first and Glisan is the intersection.”

Driver:  “Oh yes.  I know these streets.”

Funny how something so linguistically simple can be completely overlooked and misconstrued sometimes.  It’s all about context, which can be found somewhere near the intersection of Virgo and Pisces.

miscellany, and Greek misogyny

blogging, funny, music, Oregon, Portland No Comments »

When I wrote last, I had a feeling that this week might get away from me, but I had no idea just how much that would happen.  Most of alll, it was time spent reconnecting with friends who I’ve not seen in years.  The total for this month is now up to twenty two.  TWENTY TWO.  . .and it’s due in a large part to Facebook.

This week, I had two rehearsals, four gigs, two trips to the beach, and as soon as I finished Gig #2 the other night, at ten-thirty at night, I got a text message saying, “Did you get my text yesterday?”

“I don’t think so.  Which one?”

“About me being in the hospital?”

“OH MY GOSH.  No, I didn’t!  What happened?  Are you okay?”  [I tried to call her, but she couldn’t answer.]

The rest of the story is that she got really sick on Wednesday with what she thought was food poisoning from bad cream in her coffee, but she kept getting worse throughout the day, so she went to the hospital Wednesday night, to find out that she had frickin’ appendicitis, so she got her appendix sucked out through her navel on Thursday.  RockShowGirl and I raced over to see her Thursday afternoon, just as her mom was arriving to take her home for a few days.  She’s there now, sans appendix, recuperating with her new friend Percoset.

I drove RockShowGirl to her condo downtown and then came home back to clean up my place, in order that FriscoFriends could stay here tonight.  They arrived five minutes after IrishBand had finished Gig #3 on Thursday night, and we talked at the venue for a while, before driving back to my place and retiring to the front steps with glasses of wine.  We all slept in late yesterday, and I tiptoed out to the living room to retrieve my keys, so that I could walk to the grocery store and be back before they awoke.  I whispered, “Is either of you awake?”  The fakers both instantly opened their eyes and stretched their arms.   I laughed and said I’d be right back with coffee and ingredients for breakfast.  We had scrambled eggs with mozzarella cheese, with fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden (I got slimed by a slug who was attached to one of the tomatoes, and it took hours to get all of that sticky, yellowish, gooey crap off of my hand!), French press coffee, and toast with homemade raspberry jam courtesy of Mom ‘n’ Stepdad.

At about half past noon, we happily piled into our respective cars and caravanned to Seaside, where we met up with their family, who I’ve also known for years.  It was a great time.  They told me to bring my bike, since everybody else had theirs as well.  That turned out to be the best idea of all.  We rode up and down the Promenade, and all around the town, and I found the house we used to stay in when I was a kid that belonged to our family friends.  It’s also located right along the Promenade, and it was nice to see that unlike the rest of Seaside, it was unchanged, save for the fact that it is now a vacation rental home.  We rode to the ice cream shop for cones, and down along the riverfront marina and walkways as well.  In a great show of our Second Childhood, three of us raced to the top floor of a parking garage, and back down to street level, skidding on the sidewalk and having the time of our lives.

Then it was time for dinner, and a walk down to the beach, which included a small fire, s’mores, and a radio-controlled car and plane.  First time I’ve ever flown a model plane, by the way, and it’s much more difficult than it appears.  Then we walked back to the fire and sat around talking until dusk, when I had to pack up my car and drive home, after hugs all around.

Today I’m devoting to cleaning up my kitchen from all the cooking, and getting the living room back to normal now that life is back to normal.  By ‘normal’, I mean a gig tonight, meeting two more friends in the next couple of days, and then three gigs in a row next week, followed by at least one more beach trip (but it’s more likely to be two) before things start to settle down in the following week.  At the end of that week, I’ve been invited to play in Whitefish, Montana with a nationally known songwriter who just so happens to live here in Portland.  He also just so happens to be the significant other of someone with whom I played for almost three years, so I’ve had the opportunity to play with him many times before in that context, but it will be really great to play with him in this new context.  He’s an amazing banjo player and guitarist.

By way of an ending to all of this miscellany, I’m going to tell you that I’m listening to “El Choclo” by Astor Piazzolla, and I like to share examples of these obscure songs when I can find them.  I scrounged up a video to this one, which has a bunch of misogynistic hilarious pictures that accompany this beautiful and romantic tango music.  If you can read the captions, please feel free to comment and translate them, because it’s all Greek to me.

107 degrees today

blogging, music, pictures, Yakima No Comments »

I’m going to do another of those quick little recaps, since it’s been another whirlwind week.

Went to Yakima and stayed at Mom ‘n’ Stepdad’s, since it was a class reunion weekend for my high school.  It wasn’t my year, but a few of my friends were going to be in town, so I figured I’d go and make myself available in case there were some activities or whatever that I might be able to be a part of.   I ended up going to the Friday night meet-up and hanging out with a couple of people, one of whom was a guitarist I played with once or twice when I’d been playing for about two months.  Since I’ve been playing for twenty four years now, that’s how long it had been since I’d seen him.  Another visiting friend was ChefSLC and a couple of friends from Seattle, who happened to be in town for a wedding and had nothing to do with the class reunion.  As if that wasn’t enough, I met up with another friend from college, who I found with a little help from Facebook.  All around, it was a fantastic weekend.

The weekend before was a party, a party, and a wedding.  PartyOne involved a lost dog, whose owner seemed to abandon him in a parking lot across the street from where we were having our little party, which quickly turned the party into a session of calling 9-1-1 and Animal Control and the police.

PartyTwo was a birthday party for Violinist from IrishBand.  When we arrived, we found that not only was it Violinist’s birthday, but it was a meeting of the two-member Portland Cigar Club, of which Violinist and Singer decided to become the third and fourth members for the day, despite never having smoked cigars before.  They warned Singer not to inhale, but he accidentally did, and found himself all cracked out, and had to go running up and down the street in the hopes of burning off some of the excess energy.  It was pretty funny.  I have the sneaking suspicion that was his one and only day of membership in the Portland Cigar Club.  After the party dissipated, I took LJ home and then went back to continue the party at the house we’d been at the previous night.  It was a blast, again, and the dog problem seemed to have been taken care of, after they let him spend the night in their home.

Sunday night was a wedding of two of my friends and building-mates.  It was a lovely ceremony at the bride’s mom’s house in Banks.   My pictures of the ceremony itself weren’t so great, but on the way out there, I stopped to take some pics of the beautiful countryside.  I parked my car on the side of the road, and someone actually stopped to ask me if I was lost.  It was very kind of them, and was something that rarely happens in the hectic life of the city.


After the ceremony, there was dinner and drinks until dusk, when the party really started.  Since the bride and groom are professional musicians, the majority of the guests at the wedding were musicians as well.  There was a contingent of guitarists, a cellist, two trumpet players, a violinist and I brought my accordion.  At one point, one of the guitarists pulled out one of those huge pads of art paper, on which were written the lyrics to a bunch of songs, including “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, “Across the Universe” and many other songs.  He arranged them with his other band, when they wanted to have a sing-along around a campfire, but no one knew the words to anything, so to write the lyrics on a huge piece of paper for everyone was a brilliant solution. The party lasted until about three-thirty in the morning, at which point most people camped out at various places on the property, but I decided to drive home.  On the way, I remember that it was now Monday morning, which meant that my friend John was doing his radio show.  He told me a few days prior that if I ever found myself in one of the many sleepless nights I have, that I should feel free to come down to KBOO and play a few songs.  So I called him.  “Hey, I’m driving home from this wedding. . .what are the chances that I could come down and hang out for a bit?”  He readily agreed, so I sped through the night to the station.   Got there about four, had a great time, played a few songs (Indigo Girls, Azure Ray, and Neil Finn), and then John played a couple before launching into the entire Side One of the Decemberists’ “Hazards of Love” record.   The guy with the show after John’s arrived around that time, and he told us that he’d been to the Decemberists’ show the night before, so we asked him if he’d want to come on the air and talk about it, which he gladly did.  It was really fun.  It’s a shame that the show isn’t podcast or anything, because the time slot of 3:00-5:30 a.m. is a bit prohibitve for most people to listen, but it’s well worth it if you’re up at that hour.  John plays all kinds of incredible music.


After the show was over, we had to put away all the records and CD’s that he’d played during the course of the show, which took a half-hour or so, by which time it was 6:00 a.m., whereupon I said “good night” to the guy doing his show (John asked me, “Did you just say ‘good night’?”  It was hilarious.), and then drove home to spend the rest of the day in bed.  It was a stellar ending to a stellar weekend.

So then last weekend was Yakima, last night was a Breanna and Justin gig with a Birthday Girl, and this weekend (tomorrow, actually) I’m driving over to spend some time with Dad ‘N’ Stepmom at their house near the coast.  Today I finally had enough time to sit and write all this out, so now it’s back to broiling in record-high weather in Portland (107 degrees today, and I don’t even own a fan!  Yikes.) and listening to Crowded House.

I went through all my boxes of stuff in the basement, and finally found the one that contained about a hundred CD’s that I’ve been missing for a while.  Crowded House, Tears For Fears, and Thomas Dolby were among the ones I’d been looking for recently, and I’m reunited with them now, and it feels so good.