Sunday, March 30, 2008

Folk art

We volunteered at the library for their big book sale. When we were taping up the brown boxes with white plastic tape, I thought they looked nice enough for a museum installation, especially when we laid them out in lines on the floor. "Give them to the Crocker?" asked Jennifer. "No, this is too good for the Crocker," I said. "San Francisco MOMA."

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Nina Weiss sent me this cool animation

Do you see the woman spinning clockwise or counterclockwise? After a while you may see her spinning the other way. Click here to see the original post and all the comments. Some people insist that the animation "really" changes direction, whereas others can make their perception of it change at will.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Just before she drove back to Irvine, Rachel had lunch with us at the Thai Palace. This street art is just around the corner.

Please don't come to our front door

This is the nest in the wreath on our front door. We go in and out through the garage and hardly ever use the front door. Because of the nest, we use it even less now. This morning I noticed that there was a package underneath the doormat. It was the book for Mamma Mia! It came via FedEx and the delivery guy put it there. I hadn't noticed it for five days.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A new space collage

Rachel and the blonde

Rachel at my show, standing next to the piece that will be hers (the blonde, not the planet.)

“Is that your dad’s hardcore friend?”

This is a mask I made in honor of the 50th birthday of my former sketch comedy colleague and Lower Merion High alumnus, the very talented dancer/actor/director/producer/set decorator Matt Callahan.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A landmark waiting to happen

Nevada City has an unbelievable number of buildings with historic plaques on them, dating back to before the Civil War. Here is a lovely flat stone to which the city fathers have neglected to affix a plaque.

The Zen of real estate

We drove up to Nevada City today for the first time in many years. It's an example of that peculiarly California combination of counterculture values and sky-high real estate. If you only have time for one, would you take the rolfing or the Jungian sandplay?

It has begun

Yesterday I had lunch at the Sunflower Cafe, which has the best veggie burger in town. The guy who took my order had a cast on his hand. "How did that happen?" I asked.
"I was working out back and a computer monitor fell on my hand."
"I knew that they would turn on us. I just didn't know how."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Comedy comes in twos

We went to the Bread Store for lunch. They have little round metal cafe tables. I filled up a paper cup with Diet Coke and put it on one of the tables. Immediately I kicked one of the legs; the cup fell over and emptied the Coke all over the table, my thighs, and the floor. I got a mess of napkins to soak up the Coke, washed my hands, and then got a new cup. I filled up the new cup, set it on the table where Jennifer was sitting, and then kicked the leg, upending the new cup. This time an employee offered to clean up the mess. Jennifer wanted to leave immediately, but I elected to move to the counter where I couldn't possibly knock anything over.
Jennifer blames the antihistamines I was taking.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The nest, continued

There is now an egg in the nest in the wreath on our front door. In this video you can see the silhouette of the bird sitting on the egg.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A couple of dead things in Woodland

Today I tuned at the Woodland Opera House. Something in the balcony smells like a dead rat. And believe me, my nose knows what it's talking about. See Thursday's post.
They are doing Brigadoon with two pianos. Smaller music budget, bigger tuning budget.
I was sad to see that The Next Chapter, the lovely bookstore across the street in a building that used to be a hardware store, is finally going under. Sad, but not surprising.
What is truly shocking is that Borders is in danger of going under and is desperately seeking a buyer!

Waffles of the Andes

For this month’s Peace Corps dinner, we went to a Peruvian restaurant with the traditional Peruvian name of Waffle King. We were lucky enough to sit next to a guy who had served as a Volunteer in Peru. He was a great storyteller and explained what all the dishes were. He probably blew the owner's mind as he speaks Spanish with a Peruvian accent. His life partner is a Filipino from the Ilocano region and he speaks a little Ilocano as well as Tagalog. It shamed me, as I know very little Tagalog. "Mas sarap ng San Miguel beer."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The greatest day of their year

Early one morning Shadow started barking. Jennifer got up and found him in my office amid a chaos of chewed-up paper, pointing at a shelf. Later, the cats also showed a strange interest in the shelf. I couldn't see or smell anything, but later when I was pulling books to investigate, a dead mouse dropped out.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Another great poster

Again, I have no idea what kind of music this is, but the poster is great.

What a night

The Bear Valley schedule is up. I will be playing opening night for the Frankie Valli and Four Seasons tribute. Click on the logo to see the schedule. (Yes, the dates on the logo are from last year. But the schedule is for this year.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Cool painting in a customer’s house

Just a freakin’ crazy poster

I don't know what is going on at this event but I love it.

Light saber

I want to become seven years old again and play with this light saber. It's plastic so you can actually fight with someone else who has a light saber. And when you swing it or hit something with it, it makes an appropriate noise.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Bingo explained

A couple months ago I posted a picture of the bingo cage in the piano lab at Cosumnes River College. Judi Sands-Pertel, a teacher at the college, explained why it is there:

John [Landes] taught several beginning piano was very important to him to have an end of the year recital....or even during the regular piano playing tests...he would call on students to play....they would usually volunteer.....
But, he got tired of them "whining" and not wanting to he got the bingo they would play by random was so funny.
Each keyboard has an assigned's a good plan...ha...I should use too...ha.
He only used it a few semesters.......the students loved it.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I think this would be a good logo, or band name, or something.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

John Landes’ memorial

I went to John's memorial today, which included many performances, including a reunion of his band from JFK High thirty-five years ago! They rocked (see above).
At these occasions you notice what people remember. For example, Steve Coughran, who has John's job now, said that he wished he could snap his fingers as loud as John could. You could be walking on the other side of the quad and hear John's fingers snapping in the band room. I doubt that John thought very much about snapping his fingers.
When I got my 50th birthday memory book, I noticed that most people talked about things that I had either totally forgotten or not thought about for many years.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

My customer lives on a street where hundreds of high school kids walk by her house every day. Her response is to put this cutout on her gate.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bird on the door

Birds are building a nest on the Christmas wreath that is still on our door. We can watch them through the glass.

Sounds like a country song

The owner of this Martin guitar got it forty years ago, when he traded a Chevy panel truck for it.

We're disgraced

Every year in our holiday newsletter we pick a prominent Jew who has shamed his people to be our Shanda fur die Goyim. We've pretty much picked Eliot Spitzer to be our guy this year... but Gawker has already beaten us to it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


These kids are baristas at Starbucks. They were trying to do a gangsta pose, but hey, they're from the suburbs.
Always wanted to operate a lunch truck? This one is for sale.
This customer has a Barbie piano next to the real one. Actually, she says she put it there because the little girl kept bumping her head on the corner of the big piano.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Private club

Among many cool things these customers of mine have (including a neon Corona sign and a surfboard hung with Mardi Gras beads) they have a real slushy machine for making margaritas!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Meet you in the lounge

Today was my first day tuning at the UC Davis dorms. They are much nicer than the dorms at UC Irvine, though they get an F for creativity in naming (Segundo, Tercero, Cuarto...) While repairing the piano in this building, I had a nice conversation with a young pianist who had never seen the inside of his piano before.
Like a lot of the lounges, this one has a ping pong table. Over the table is posted the bracket showing the results of the last tournament.

No fair guessing 91.5 pounds

Taylor's Market is having a contest to guess the weight of this titanic chocolate bunny and its basket. I guessed 92 pounds.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Surprise visitors

I was very surprised when the Crawfords showed up at my opening, coming all the way from San Francisco! They also bought the piece behind Tom's head... the one with the head of Julie London. Afterwards they and Jennifer went to see Greg's play at the B Street Theatre.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


We just saw the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Strange subject for a musical, but it's really one of the best shows we've seen in a long time.

Mmm... brains.

See the post below to understand just why this is hilarious.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

John Landes

John Landes, the head of the music department at Cosumnes River College, recently died. People have been leaving mementos in front of the door and taped to the window. Steve Homan, a great guitarist who teaches at CRC, wrote a tune in honor of John and posted it on the door.
He was a much-beloved teacher and free spirit, but alcohol finally destroyed his liver.

Peace Corps Day

I gave a talk at Del Paso Manor School on Peace Corps Day. There was a girl in the class who looked like Jane Goodall in miniature. Her father, in fact, had studied monkeys in Sumatra. Another kid impressed me by actually knowing about the volcano in Montserrat.
I used a nice flash animation from the Miniature Earth group. You can see it here.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Another fascinating fact from Jim Lane

Soon after this picture was taken, Jim crawled under the table to get back to the party. I said, "A man in a tuxedo crawling under a table — you don’t see that every day."
Jim said, "Actually, if you go to the right places you see it quite often."

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Jim Lane is 60!

I went to Jim Lane's 60th birthday party. When he turned 50 I didn't get to the party until after a show. It was 11 pm and the party was still bustling. Tonight I left at 8:30 pm and there was hardly anyone left.
The pianist Mike Bob0 told me a good musician joke. What's the difference between a musician and a large pizza? The pizza can feed a family of four.