Friday, March 25, 2005

Quilted (but not Charmin)

(I should be getting packed for a trip to GA, but instead I'm working on my blog.)

Here's a request from one of my loyal readers (Hi Mom!). She wanted to see a picture of the tie quilt I mentioned in an earlier posting. So the picture above is a detail of the big one. You can see the wide variety of ties used in it's construction, every pattern from checks to paisleys, every color you can imagine, and even a special guest appearance by Taz. Even more unique than the ties is the fact that they are all silk ties. Most of them were purchased at $1 each from dozens of thrift stores over a period of a couple years. I've never counted to see how many ties are actually in it, but it has to be in the low hundreds to cover a queen sized bed. And that number grows occasionally. About once a year, I have to send the quilt back for touch-up work, as some of the ties start to wear out, the fabric being rather delicate. I guess ties aren't meant to take much abuse. (I'm pretty sure that Taz showed up after one of those refurbs. He wasn't there when the quilt was new...) Probably the worst indignity the quilt has suffered was when the cat got mad and peed on it. I had to have the thing washed and repaired after that. Every wash causes it to fade just a little, so I try to keep it as clean as possible.

There's another tie quilt, that wasn't made from scratch, but instead restored by mom. It'll have to wait for another day...

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Oodles of Doodles II

This tender tableau comes from the flip side to Louis Prima & Keely Smith's LP Together (Dot DLP 25263, 1960). I'm not sure why they chose the caveman theme, since none of the tracks on the LP really have anything to do with caves. I'll have to do some more research, but I don't think the Flintstones were on the air yet, either, so I'm at a loss to explain the pet dinosaur, too. Well, I checked, and the Flintstones did first hit the air in 1960. So maybe that's the inspiration behnd the dinosaur. Although, now that I look at it for a while, it could be a dragon...

Megapixel Mania

I have a 5 megapixel digital camera. My previous camera was 3 megapixels, and the one before that about 1 megapixel. The camera prior to that didn't even have a number attached to it, and the one prior to that, my first digital camera, was somewhere in the single pixel range. I hope to have a shiny new 8 megapixel camera by the end of the year. (Please send in your contributions now.)

Then there's this guy. He's not really using a digital camera, but once he takes the image with his custom built, large-format, film camera, and scans it with some high-dollar scanner, he winds up with images on the order of 4 Gigapixels! There are some samples of his work on the site, and they are truly beautiful. Read a little about the lengths he goes to in order to get those images, and you realize why photographers are all a little bit mad. I think the folks at Adobe had to specially modify Photoshop just to handle the files this guy was generating. You'll see close-ups and zoomed-in sections of his photographs on the website that are every bit as amazing as the overall photograph. My favorite shot there is of the Golden Gate Bridge at sundown, with all of San Francisco lit by the golden light in the background. It makes you understand why they call it the Golden Gate. But I guess the real reason I love that shot is because I've stood on the spot in the Marin Headlands where he shot from, and seen the panorama with my own eyes, and even though it wasn't at sunset, it was so beautiful I almost cried. I couldn't capture the beauty of it with my camera, but he did.

Construction Work

This mockingbird is hard at work building a nest outside my window at work. I'll keep an eye on him and his mate, and hopefully we'll have some baby bird pictures before too long. The folks here at work have finally gotten used to me jumping up suddenly, grabbing my camera and running this way or that. They know I'll return with some interesting photographs. They've also used my pictures here and there, but that's a subject for a future blog entry.

Looking at the first few days of my blog, I seem to be a real bird person. I suppose it's because they make great photographic subjects, and I finally have a camera with a long enough lens to get decent pictures of them. I promise that as time goes by, you'll see pictures of something other than birds.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Oodles of Doodles

The two dancers above are scanned from the inner sleeve to one of the LPs I mentioned below, 60 Years of Music America Loves Best-Volume III (RCA Victor LOP-1509, 1961). The conductor below is from the other side of the sleeve. From reading the sleeve, I believe it was used in both a popular music version of the LP, as well as a classical version. I'd always been told that The Beatles-Sgt. Pepper was the first LP to have a custom inner sleeve, but there may have been some caveat with that 'first' that I've forgotten. I like these little doodles that seemed to be poular on LPs in the late 50s and early 60s. I hope to be able to share more of them here in my little blog.

Eagle Eye Ernie

On the way home from work this evening, I drove past the eagle nest. This isn't really a big deal, since I have to go that way anyway, and they just happen to live right off the road. The big deal was that they were finally together on a branch. Usually, either I don't see them at all, or I see one or the other, or if they are both visible, they are far apart. And everybody at work always tells me they spot them on the same branch making like love birds or something. Well, today I finally got lucky and there they were. Unluckily, they were a quarter mile from the road, it was fully overcast, and nearly dark. So the picture you see above is probably the worst you will ever see me post. But I figure how often can you brag about shooting a pair of bald eagles?

I suppose I could always go to the dump...

Rookery Roll Call

I don't know all the names, but here's a list of all the birds I can name from the Venice Rookery:

Great Blue Egrets
Great White Herons
Little Green Herons
Red Wing Blackbirds
Pelicans (Not nesting, but visiting)
And a bunch of little birds that seem to excite the people with really long lenses, but I have trouble spotting them, much less taking their pictures.

Mother and Child Reunion

This shot shows a Great Blue Heron as he (or she) tried to regurgitate some food for her little ones. The young birds are quite vocal about their desire to be fed. Multiply each voice by well over 100 birds, and the rookery can turn into a pretty noisy place around feeding time.

Egret in Full Bloom

This Great White Egret in full breeding plumage tends to a nest at the Venice Rookery. You can't really see it in this shot, but the skin around the eyes on this bird is bright green.

Rook Takes Knight

My destination last Sunday (20 Mar 05) was the Venice Rookery. It's a little tiny island in a freshwater pond where dozens of birds build nests and raise their young. Most rookeries are in secluded locations out of the reach of predators and humans, but this one happens to be behind an FHP station and less than half a mile from the local Wal-Mart. Everytime I've been down there, I'm part of a small crowd of people gathered to get a look at all the birds. At any given moment during the breeding season, there are probably 10-20 different species of birds nesting on the small island, all well within pecking distance from each other, but getting along remarkably well. Sure, there's some pecking and squacking occasionally, but I think humans could learn a lot from these birds who are sharing that tiny piece of land.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Tie Me Down

Here's a tie from the 50's that I found at a junk store last weekend. I've got a decent collection of these things going now. I've got two quilts that my mother made out of neckties, too. What'll they think of next?

Week of 20 Mar 05

In addition to the monthly calendar showcased below, I do a weekly calendar for my grandmother. It's designed to be printed out across two sheets of paper (with an unfortunate gap in the middle where it gets bound). The hand-carved Uncle Sam you see in the photo was made by my mother, and is in the garden at my parents house.

March 2005

For the past couple of years, I've put together a series of 12 pictures for a wall calendar that hangs in the office where I work. I figure this would be a good place to share these. The photo above was taken on the South Skyway Fishing Pier. You have to be quick on the shutter when a bird happens to fly into view.

Sounds From The Solara

I know you're really curious about what's playing in the Toyota...

Tom Jones-Reload (The UK version with all the duets, not the similarly titled US version)
Shirley Bassey-The Remix Album: Diamonds Are Forever (Again, the UK version, not US)
Various Artists-Wild, Cool & Swingin' (From the highly recommended UltraLounge series)
Sophia Loren-Le Canzoni Di (There's some wacky stuff on here.)
Rod Stewart-As Time Goes By: The Great American Songbook Volume II (Not that great, except the duet with Queen Latifah!)
Louis Armstrong-Blow Satchmo Blow

That's what's actually in the disc changer at the moment. The backseat must have thirty other discs that have spent some time in the player over the past three months. More updates as events warrant!

Kitty P0rn

Here's a little bit of kitty p0rn for you. She's lonely, and she wants you.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Stamp on this

RCA Victor Christmas stamps Posted by Hello

I came across these stamps on the back of one of the LPs listed below. Ed Lyman-He Walks With Me, RCA Victor, LSP-2095. 1960, one of their Living Stereo releases. I'm not too excited by gospel music, but I occasionally buy some for the cover, or some other odd, unexplainable reason. (My collection is full of things I can't possibly remember why I bought...) Anyhow, I've never seen these stamps before, and a quick Google search doesn't turn up too much info on them. One site was offering some for sale, and claimed they were from 1957. If anybody has any idea, please drop me a line.

Nu Vinyl-Part III-Revenge of the Sith

First off, I want you to know I don't buy this much vinyl every weekend. I can't. I couldn't. I wouldn't. Mostly because it's rare to find this much interesting stuff. Also, I've got too much as it is. This stuff takes up some serious room.

Here's some of the 12", 33.3333333333 RPM vinyl I got this weekend. I may be too lazy to type it all in, but I'm going to give it the old college try.

Various Artists-Music To Paint By ("Prepared Expressly for Celanese Coating Company by RCA Victor" 1966)
David Carroll And His Orchestra-Percussion Parisienne
Various Artists-60 Years Of Music America Loves Best-Volume III (I got this one for Bing Crosby's Cover of Just A Gigolo.)
Stanley Black And His Orchestra-The All Time Top Tangos
Henri Rene And His Orchestra-Show Boat
The Four Lads-On The Sunny Side
Nick Tagg-12 Years Of Academy Award Winners
Stereo Spectacular Demonstration & Sound Effects (Audio Fidelity DFS 7777)
101 Strings-Swingin' Things From
Duke Ellington-Hi-Fi Ellington Uptown
Percy Faith-Disco Party
Oliver-Good Morning Starshine
Voice Of The Sea (Sound effects from Cook Laboratories)
Billy J. Kramer With The Dakotas-Little Children
Mike Harding-One Man Show
Tennessee Ernie Ford-Ol' Rockin' Ern (UK Pressing!!!)
Tommy Dorsey-In A Sentimental Mood
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack-I'll Take Sweden
Noel Harrison-Collage
Harry Belafonte-The Many Moods Of Belafonte
Mrs. Mills-Your One And Only
Larry Elgart And His Orchestra-More Music In Motion
Bill Black's Combo-That Wonderful Feeling
Ray Herrera-Her
Ed Lyman-He Walks With Me
Ray Price-The Ray Price Christmas Album
Jason And The Scorchers-Still Standing
Various Artists-IRS Greatest Hits Vols. 2 & 3
XTC-English Settlement
XTC-Senses Working Overtime
XTC-Ball And Chain
XTC-Drums And Wires
XTC-Go 2
Bill Nelson-Bill Nelson's Red Noise-Sound-On-Sound
The Jags-Evening Standards
Third World-96° In The Shade
The Cretones-Thin Red Line
Nick Lowe-Labour Of Lust
Dick Curtis-Live At "The Horn" Santa Monica
Dick Hyman-Strictly Organic
Holly & The Italians-Holly Beth Vincent
Holly & The Italians-The Right To Be Italian
Mary Martin-Tells The Story And Sings The Songs Of Rogers & Hammerstein's The Sound Of Music
Owen J Roberts High School Senior Concert Band-Salute of "68"
Buddy Morrow And His Orchestra-Let's Have A Dance Party
The Boomtown Rats-A Tonic For The Troops
The Boomtown Rats-V Deep
The Specials-The Specials
Basil Rathbone-Dickens' Christmas Carol
Tuff Jack-Twangy, Shoutin' Fantastic Big Band Sounds Of
Captain Kangaroo & Leopold Stokowski-Peter And The Wolf
Various Artists-Urgh! A Music War
Gary Myrick And The Figures-Gary Myrick And The Figures
Ashley Miller-Merry Christmas Carols With Organ And Chimes
Various Artists-Jet Set Dance Discotheque Vol. 3
Rock Master Scott And The Furious Three-The Roof Is On Fire b/w Request Line
Pseudo Echo-Funky Town
Huey Lewis And The News-The Power Of Love
Nu Shooz-I Can't Wait
Various Artists-Stereo Action Unlimited!
Bianco, His Harp And Orchestra-Music To Make Your Heart Sing!
Various artists-The Sinkhole Tapes (This one is a collection of North Florida Artists from 1983, and it's put out by the fine folks at Hyde & Zeke Records. This was the best record store in Gainesville when I was in school there. Last time I visited, they'd moved way out in the sticks, and I wasn't impressed, but I'm a lot older now, and times change...)

(Every time I think I'm done, I find another stack...)

James Last-Last The Whole Night Long
Al Hirt-The High-Flying Trumpet Of (This seems to be a promo for United Airlines)
Miriam Makeba-Miriam Makeba
Various Artists-Full Dimensional Sound-A Study In High Fidelity
Various Artists-Music To Help Clean Up Stream Pollution By (A promo thing for Union Carbide)
Max Kaminsk And His Windy City Six-Chicago Style
Sam Price And His Kay Cee Stompers-Barrelhouse And Blues
Carmen Mastren-Banjorama
Lou Cortney-Skate Now Shing-a-ling
Earl Grant-Trade Winds
Hugo Montenegro-Neil's Diamonds Fashioned By
Danny Kaye-Sings Selections From Hans Christian Andersen & Tubby The Tuba
The Swingle Singers-Jazz Sebastian Bach
Doc Severinsen-Trumpets And Crumpets And Things
Doc Severinsen And Friends-Swinging And Singing
Riverboat Banjo Band-The Singing Happy Sound Of The
John Barry-Conducts His Greatest Movie Hits
Roberto Delgado-The Very Best Of
Bob The Cat Bevan-One Flew Over The Bar, Six Flew Over The Ne(s)t
The Alberts/The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band/The Temperance Seven-The Alberts/The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band/The Temperance Seven

And that seems to be it. I wish I had the drive and determination to put in other relevant details about all these records, like label, catalog numbers or release dates, but I'm lazy. If you have any questions, drop me a line.

Nu Vinyl-Part Deux-7"

Everyone remembers the little 7" 45RPM records. Well, everyone who matters. Here's a few of them I found this weekend:

Allen Sherman-The Drop-Outs March b/w Crazy Downtown
Nervous Norvus-Transfusion b/w Dig
The Everly Brothers-Especially For You EP
Bobby Darin-Darin At The Copa EP (This is only one disc, shouldn't there be another?)
Various Artists-RCA Victor SP 45-93 (I got this one for a cover of Louis Prima's Sing Sing Sing by Henry Mancini. I haven't listened to it yet, but I have high hopes. Any cover of a Louis Prima song is a must-buy. OK, I've listened to it, and it's good. Mancini was a genius. This track appears to be from the LP The Blues And The Beat.)

All of these records were without sleeves, unfortunately. And some of them are pretty beat up. I think they will all play, though. I don't worry too much about the way my vinyl looks when I buy it. I don't buy stuff that looks like a yard disc, but I don't spend years waiting for a pristine copy to show up, either. I don't like to spend more than $1 for anything, unless it's new, or I know it's really worth it. You can sift through a lot of crap in a hurry for $1 each!

Nu Vinyl-Part 1-The 10"ers

OK, so I have a sickness. I collect old vinyl. You know, the big records you used to buy for the music before the little silver discs. I can't go past a thrift store without stopping and seeing what I can find. I've been getting really lucky lately, and scoring some nice stuff.

Here's a few of the items I grabbed this weekend, starting with the 10" records. The guy at the store I bought these from asked me how rare they are, and I really didn't know the answer. I know they aren't at all common anymore, but back in their heyday, I don't know how hard they were to find. From reading some of them, they were available as 10" LPs, or as sets of either 45s or 78s. Anyhow, here goes:

Reginald Foort-Percussion And Pedal
Les Paul & Mary Ford-Bye Bye Blues!
Les Paul & His Trio-Galloping Guitars
Frankie Carle-Plays Honky Tonk
Carlos Montoya-Patterns in Flamenco
Yma Sumac-Voice Of The Xtabay (Yes, I know about this one...)
Marian MacPartland-The Magnificent Marian MacPartland, Volume 1
Red Camp-Horizontal
Sean McGonical-Kilts On Parade
Scandanavian Airlines System-European Holiday ("A Mitch Miller Musical")
Wilbur De Paris And His Rampart St. Ramblers-New Orleans Jazz By
New Musik-Straight Lines (This one is from 1979, whereas all the ones listed above are 40s-50s vintage)

Oh, and one ringer:

Klark Kent-Klark Kent (This one is a 10" record in a 12" sleeve. I've heard about it, but never seen one. The label on the vinyl says Klerk Kant, so I think it's a later issue. I'll have to do some more research.)

And a few more that I found a couple of weeks ago, before I had a blog to mention them in:

Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians-Sidewalks Of New York
Michael Cheshire-The Pipe Organ, Volume 2
Earl Nightingale-Gives You "The Strangest Secret"

Whew, that's a lot of typing. I don't know if I'll be able to keep this up. I'll link any of the above if I get the time, but don't hold your breath...

Go Gator!

This fellow was about nine feet long, and only about six feet away. Thankfully, he was more interested in sunning himself than in eating me. Posted by Hello

The Cormorant

This, on the other hand, is a cormorant. Posted by Hello

If you look close, you'll see how this guy is different from the anhinga. The hooked beak and the blue eyes are certainly giveaways. But that won't help you if you don't have a chance to get a good look.

An Anhinga

The long-awaited anhinga picture... Posted by Hello

I guess this is a male. The female's have a different color neck and shoulders. Or so I read. I've never gone up to one and asked...

Anhinga, not cormorant

OK, here's the first picture from my trip to Ding Darling. It's an anhinga. I always have trouble telling them from cormorants. I hope I'm spelling all these names correctly...

(OK, I've run into an issue with uploading a picture. Pardon me a minute while I figure out where to put my photos for hosting...)

Ding Darling

I spent last Saturday (19 Mar 05) at the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island. I'll try to post some pictures later.

FYI, Sanibel and Captiva are not discrete islands. They are connected by a couple hundred feet of sand. I suppose the sand occasionally washes away, because there is a bridge built over it just in case. Also of note, Captiva was not cut in half by Hurricane Charley. That was North Captiva Island.

Starting from scratch

I've been thinking about starting a blog for a while now. I wanted some place to share my pictures, my records and all the other detritus that accumulates in my life. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep up on it. I don't expect that too many of you will ever see this, but you never know. At least I can use it for myself.