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. 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Another space collage

This one has been sitting unfinished for about five months but I think it's almost done.

Kate leaves

This week was the last Foodstuffs article by Kate Washington (she is leaving the News & Review to write for another magazine) so I decided to put her in the illustration. This shows her holding a thick pile of menus representing all the restaurants she has reviewed, with the names of some of her favorites showing.

Scott Eckern story in New York Times

SACRAMENTO — The artistic director of the California Musical Theater, a major nonprofit producing company here in the state’s capital, resigned on Wednesday in the face of growing outrage over his support for a ballot measure this month that outlawed same-sex marriage in California.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Eckern resigns

Video Courtesy of

Scott Eckern resigned as artistic director of California Musical Theatre after it came out that he had donated $1000 to Proposition 8.
I disagree with him on the issue, but wasn't there a less catastrophic way to resolve this?

My hands are incredibly dry today

We went to the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco today. They spent many millions of dollars on remodeling it, and it shows. First of all, they charge $25 to get in, which beats even New York's MOMA. Secondly, they have a fantastic four-story rainforest you can walk through. Thirdly, an eyeball-searing aquarium. Finally, the rest rooms have the latest in hand drying technology. When I put my hands in, I felt as if tractor beams were peeling the water molecules off my hands and distributing them, using quantum mechanics, to the furthest corners of the galaxy. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Some lovely Irish tea

...that my customer offered me. I also learned that Lyons tea is better than most American teas partly because their teabags just have more tea in them.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Color Purple

This is the Key 2 chair (where I was subbing tonight) for Color Purple. Tough show, but it went well. 

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Tragedy averted

This woman is holding a fruit bat that she saw attacking a small child. Fortunately, she was able to smash it flat with a shovel.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Another art car

...this one near Sacramento City College.

Another weekly

The Short North Gazette of Columbus, OH(home of Ohio State) started using my cartoons.  Not a bad little paper. 

A big bottle full of matchbook

This customer has three of these bottles. It reminded me of a wonderful book of matchbook art: Striking Images by Monte Beauchamp. 

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Barack's acceptance speech

Internal polling reveals that we cried with joy but were also afraid that he was going to be shot.

Monday, November 03, 2008

UC Davis: Best place to be run over by a bicyclist

Today I tuned for Jason Mraz at Freeborn Hall on the UC Davis campus. I tuned the piano at noon and then came back at 6 pm for a touch-up. I had to double-park in the loading area behind the stage. While I was tuning the producer asked if he could move my car because someone had to get out. I gave him my keys and then a minute later wondered: had he ever driven a Prius before? Sure enough, when I finished the tuning and came out to my car he still hadn't figured out how to start it. 

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Today was book sorting day... the library. And as always, we took home a bunch of books. The pile you see here cost us $12. It includes a massive coffee-table book on Impressionism, a collector's edition of the Monty Python Life of Brian script, a giant world atlas, an Edward Gorey picture book, a Judy Collins songbook, and so on.


I deal with my election nervousness by playing Wii Bowling. I must have bowled about thirty games yesterday. My right shoulder is really sore. 

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Suddenly I feel alert and energized

We were entering the multiplex to see Burn After Reading (outstanding black comedy) when we saw this car.