Saturday, December 27, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Town on 51st St.

We visited 51st and T Streets, which always have a great Christmas display. It being the day after Christmas, some of the lights were turned off... but it was quite good anyway.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Jennifer's present

Jennifer got me this gun that shoots tiny rubber chickens! I hung the package on the wall over a picture of St. Chicken Head!

Rachel's present

Rachel got me a copy of David Boring by the great cartoonist Daniel Clowes, plus some kitschy postcards like this one.

The base of a streetlight... downtown Sacramento.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Future people

A place for visitors from the future to park their hovercars and rocket packs.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Robin's birthday party at Espresso Metro

Joan made the almond coffee cake. When Robin came in, the whole place sang "Happy Birthday" accompanied by the keyboard.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A person with a rich, full life...

...wrote this on the piano at JB's Lounge. By the way, Dan, if you are reading this, the piano is really out of tune and has a missing string at D#6. 

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Is there really a High School Musical magic 8-ball?

All signs point to yes! I was wrapping presents today at Christmas Promise, an organization that provides presents to poor families. The daughter of this family must really like High School Musical, because she is getting the 8-ball, a poster, beauty products, and a deck of cards, all with the HTM theme. 

Friday, December 12, 2008

A British panto

This is the set for the show we saw tonight — Snow White, a British Panto. Rachel's former second-grade teacher and a former classmate were both outstanding in it. Overall, a loose and funny show. 

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bottom feeder

This fish, in a customer's aquarium, swallows gravel and then discharges it through its gills.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The naked burglar strikes again?

A cold night for naked burgling

A few nights ago, at 11 pm, the doorbell rang. I went to see who it was but didn't see anyone. About ten minutes later, I heard a lot of noise around the garbage cans in the side yard. I went to the laundry room and saw a hairy arm sticking through the pet door (above). I yelled, "What are you doing?! Get the f___ out of here or I'm calling the police!" Jennifer did call the police. Within ten minutes, a helicopter and a squad car arrived, four officers came in and we felt a lot better. Later, we learned that they caught the would-be burglar just a few doors down. He was completely naked, having left all his clothes in our backyard.

Best job listing ever

If you are half of a dueling piano duo, click here.

Monday, December 08, 2008

A film by David Garfield.

David showed me this film years ago while I was studying film scoring, and unsolicited, I sent him a score for it. Finally he has posted it to YouTube, with my score.

Ask the expert

While I was watching the young man make my sandwiches at Togo's, I asked him what his favorite sandwich was. "Bacon," he said. "Bacon sandwich?" I asked. "No. Just bacon, wrapped in cheese."

I'm not sure why, but...

...I always spend my payday advance on cigarettes.

Friday, December 05, 2008

This piano had mice in it

It's from a rural elementary school surrounded by farmland. There's what looks like straw stuffed under the keys and bits of straw are poking up through the mortises. It still plays, though!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Christmas crackers

My Welsh friend Michael introduced me to the British tradition of Christmas Crackers. From the Tom Smith Christmas Cracker site:
In its simplest form, a cracker is a small cardboard tube covered in a brightly colored twist of paper. When the cracker is pulled by two people, each holding one end of the twisted paper covered tube, the friction creates a small explosive 'pop'. This 'pop' is produced by a narrow strip of chemically impregnated paper. The cracker tears apart and out of the cardboard tube tumbles a bright paper hat, a small gift, a balloon and a motto or joke. It is a running joke that all the jokes and mottos in crackers are unfunny and unmemorable. Similarly, in most standard commercial products, the "gift" is equally awful, although wealthier individuals—notably, the royal family—may use custom crackers with more expensive rewards.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Monday, December 01, 2008

In the dorm

I was working on this piano action in a student lounge at UC Davis.

New expression

We saw Zach and Miri Make a Porno on Friday night. Not a great movie (especially the second half), but introduced me to a nice new idiom: "putting it out on Front Street" (being candid). Seth Rogan and Elizabeth Banks were both very fine. 

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas Scoop 2008

The online version of our holiday newsletter is up. Even those of you who will be getting a paper copy should look, because there is some extra web-only content. 
Click here.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Today we had more people over to eat leftovers than we had for the actual Thanksgiving dinner.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

No thanks

Someone didn't realize she was in reverse and slammed into one of our favorite restaurants, Crepe Escape. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Piano with a story

This piano used to belong to my customer's aunt, who was a New York socialite. Leonard Bernstein gave it to her. It is a spinet, but the case makes it look like a tiny grand, even down to having three legs instead of four.  It's a one-of-a-kind piano, with design touches I've never seen anywhere else.

Monday, November 24, 2008

First sign of the season

I know it's Christmas when I'm tuning a piano in the airport terminal. While I'm doing it, I can feel the people watching me from behind. It reminds me of a time when I was tuning in a bar in Nevada City in the late eighties, and a guy at the bar was tossing coins at me. Later I asked him why, and he said, "I didn't know what you were doing."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Program for the White Album show

White Album Show

Jerry Perry, who used to publish my cartoons in Alive and Kicking, produced a show in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Beatles' White Album. 16 bands played two songs each, performing the entire double album in the original order. I tuned the piano for the show and Jerry reserved a table for us. 

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tiny mammoth

My client did this scrimshaw on a piece of wooly mammoth ivory that is 15,000 years old.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Multiple choice quiz

Scrotal Ultrasound is: 1) a 1970s Manchester band; 2) a first-person shooter set in the 24th century; 3) a procedure I had today. (It's benign!)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My old job

This customer had a copy of the Leonardo da Vinci Elementary newsletter in his house. I did that newsletter for six years while Rachel was in grade school. Note the banner is in mirror handwriting, the way Leonardo wrote in his notebooks.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Every California fourth grader...

...has to make a model of a mission. This is the San Diego mission, rendered by the daughter of my customer. The mom confessed that it was a "collaboration."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Another economic casualty?

Our neighbor was living the Matthew McConaughey lifestyle — single guy with a house, a boat, nice cars, and lots of gorgeous women. Suddenly, the boat is gone and his house is up for sale.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I have one question for the Basque guy

Why do you squirt fish sauce into your mouth at a great distance?

Uncle Vito's Slice of NY in Davis

I love Giovanni's Pizza but I think Uncle Vito's might be even better. 

Some pretty good retro clip art

...on these dispensers we saw at the Nugget.
I played my second and last show of The Color Purple. Darryl, who I am subbing for, is one of the best jazz pianists I've ever heard. He has Art Tatum-level chops. He is going to be recording a CD soon and I hope to own it.