May 20, 2000
After a week of error messages having to do with the impossible to repair ".dll" codes Iím updating again. And since Iíve spent the majority of the week cursing in front of this infernal machine my thrifiní runs have been quite sparse.
Today the Salvation Army had a bin filled with 8 tracks, when I saw the receptacle at the corner of my eye I started skipping to the tapes. Then I examined the titles and came back to earth. To me RCA tapes are the most ironic cartridges in the universe. Structurally these tapes are built like a Rolls Royce and a clean one with its copper pressure pads and aluminum stud for character is a work of art. ButÖRCA tapes usually spotlight the most comatose easy listening selection around. And donít get me started on the antitheses of these tapes ĖThe late 70ís Warner Bros label.
Out of like 50 8 tracks I found 2 whole (Non RCA) Listenable ones-Al Green, Livin for You (Spacey) James Brown Hell (Itís sooo James Brown) and a strange bootleg of a live Elvis press conference circa 1961 Memphis. Even stranger this was put out by The Green Valley Record Store. Why donít record stores put out music anymore?
May 24, 2000
If anyone out there knows a college student (or possibly a behavioral psychologist) in this area that needs a subject for a documentary I have the perfect vehicle- Hardcore Ebay Sellers. Iím sure every city has its share of these but this place is thick with so many elements to push the envelope:
Not since Ronald Reagan took office have I seen such a group of people become transformed overnight into such good capitalists. But donít get me wrong, weíre not dealing with yuppies here. Itís more like The Antique Road Show with a more trailer trash twist. No one will find a Ming Vase here but they may sell a McDonalds Batman Returns glass for $6.00 and be beaming about it all week.
Some days it can get severe at the thrifts. You can practically see the dollar signs in their eyes while they fondle the crockery. In many ways were all like wolves in the same pack after that one rabbit (or maybe that one beer can hat) we all know we canít split. Though thankfully, Iím not nearly as zealous as most. And like all competitions, toes can be stepped on and feelings can be hurt. I know a woman who didnít buy a Beatles reel to reel tape and someone else did and sold it for $33.00. They didnít speak for weeks. Social Darwinism=survival of the cleverest.
Fortunately, 8 track tapes rarely enter into the picture and when they do some people think that theyíll be able to take a long vacation on the sale of a James Taylor tape and become silent when it doesnít get the $1.99 minimum bid. I sold a quad tape for $20.00 once and have no problem with that because I hate the whole hassle that comes with quad (4 speakers (that work), a hard to find player, and while the music may sound good (I have two ears not 4 thank you), Iíve never been impressed with the music selection in the quad era. I like 80ís 8 tracks and sounds from the K-tel generation. Quad is rich mans easy listening and even the rock is slightly before the time that gets me howling). So if anyone wants to buy a $20.00 quad from me (suckers) Iím, there.
And while the aforementioned statements may not sit well with most 8 track "purists" who believe that no tape should be sold for more than a dollar. I believe for better or worse that the door has swung up and you canít go back (Kind of like abortion). There are valuable tapes and worthless ones. Would anyone in his or her right mind sell a quad 8 track tape of Pink Floydís Wishing You Were Here for $1.00? If so I have a crisp bill waiting here for you.
May 27, 2000
Todayís lesson in the way of the 8 track happened when I found a tape by a band called The Seeds. I donít know much about them but I read a good review of them ages ago and filed their name away in my subconscience for future reference.
When I got home I examined the tape and noticed that the black under tape was showing instead of the shinny brown playable part. So I pried it open and to make a long story shorter (2.5 hours to be exact) I ended up with 40 min @ 3 /34 ips in a big knot on the floor and had to rewind the whole mess.
I urge any "well seasoned" trackers who maybe interning a newbie to give them this Zen exercise in 8 track patience. For me it involved focus, concentration and was a sensual experience winding the tape, untangling the knots and slowly recreating the tension and following the 8 track loop without the benefit of machinery. Then after adding the new pressure pad and foil splice the tape was complete and I stood back Ėfulfilled, content, a whole person.
Iíve been listening to it all day and it was well worth the effort "Youíre pushing too hard, Youíre pushing too hard on me".
I was nice to be a very small part of this tape. CDs are so alienating in this aspect and removed from humanity. Iíd like to end saying, "Long live the 8 track" but 8 tracks are dead already.
Sensing Foil A-Go Go
Kind of a score today, the old post office in Carlsberg (not the elephant beer) had a community sale and someone was selling a couple of empty milk crates stuffed with 8 tracks. Of course when you see people in booths and you really want something from them you have to act indifferent because your uncontained enthusiasm may jack up the price. Itís all part of the game.
But my patience was well rewarded and I got a nice shopping bag full of mostly rock 8 tracks for $.15 a piece. The seller was one of those retired types that wear suspenders AND a cowboy belt at the same time, and while this fashion statement is very common here it must make going to the toilet a real chore.
Most of the tapes were inscribed with "Hollyís Tape" in red ink on them and while I prefer clean tapes I can still respect personalized tapes. My favorites are the ones where they write their name or the albumís name with those plastic "make a label" doohickeys where you dial each letter until you have a name. Can you still buy those label makers?
Iím listening to an obscure Moody Blues tape I got there now and becoming amused when the singer does some cornball pretentious a cappella reading that would make any poetry 100 class throw tomatoes. "This garden universe vibrates complete, some make it a sound so sweet". Strange when there was a time when this stuff was considered deep.
June 1, 2000
We have a thrift causality here. At the end of this month Serenity in Port Angeles is closing itís doors for the last time, and no Iím not treating it like the last episode of Seinfeld (Even though Iíve seen only one episode of Seinfeld.). The closure is being blamed on (According to the papers) everyoneís favorite secondhand whipping boy here Goodwill. I think this is crap, hereís why I and probably most people donít go to Serenity that much.
I've Never found
ABBA at Serenity
June 3, 2000
In the 8 months Iíve lived here today has to be the warmest day on record. As I drove past the bank, the digital thermometer on it read 71 degrees and instead of everyone here dressed like the cast of South Park (albeit they act like the cast of King of The Hill) people were wearing shorts, real strange. And for the first time in I donít know how long I was able to cruise with the car window rolled down. I never realized how loud and smelly it gets out doors. The great outdoors reeks of second hand tobacco and when you pass a Harley itís like a dental drill on your frontal lobe (Iím cursed as a "HSP", which is a real drag when I have to sleep.).
I hit 8 garage sales and the nearest to anything 8 track was a worn out cleaner cartridge and an 8-track player/phonograph that they wanted twenty bucks for. Itís a bad day for 8 tracks,
So while listening to the haunting sounds of Shawn Cassidyís Hey Deannie I hit the new improved Salvation Army and found a tiki mug from my old watering hole in Hawaii, The Tahitian Lanai. The closest I ever got to a spiritual moment was when I was swilling a Mai Tai by the piano bar under the stars as the pianist was playing Quiet Village the week before the wrecking ball hit that joint. One of the reasons I moved off that rock was once this tiki bar was gone it sort of symbolized the death of anything beautiful in Hawaii and the parking lot in itís place represented the present overcrowded, aesthetically bankrupted "paradise".
This hamlet maybe the most cultureless, backwater spot in Washington but the thrift shops are magical. I just have to wish for something and it appears.
June 6, 2000
After that crazy warm spell weíre back to the familiar relaxing overcast and rainy Washington weather. I live in subdivision called Sunland and 98% of the time that name is very ironic. A Walmart employee told me that the heat brings out the complaints there. I guess thatís why Canadians stay put, content and comatose in their country while Mexicans keep making a run for the border since theyíre hot and are running north for relief.
I got a mini lot of 8 tracks today. The pick of the litter was Creams Disraeli Gears, but the runners up were an obscure Ella Fitzgerald, Blue Oyster Cultís Secret Treaties (Dominance/Submission) and a cheapo Pickwick cart titled Shaft-Music From the Movie performed by Soul Mann & the Brothers. But somehow I think these guys are white studio musicians.
Isnít it funny how Isaac Hayes music is considered the epitome of 70ís blauxploitation soul culture and most of his songs are often Bacharach/David easy listening staples? Itís like if Public Enemy started doing Streisand tunes.
June 17, 2000
For those of you keeping score I havenít updated in a while but never fear, I havenít got a life. It seems this webpage suddenly decided to display a message that said "Server Busy Try Again" for the last week and a half, Thank you Tripod.com. But on the plus side it appears my allotted free space of 11KBS has grown to 50! And since up to 5 I wonder if Iíll live long enough to see it filled. It makes you wonder what happens to all these page when the author unexpectedly expires? Are they immortal? It would be nice to have a server that collected these old pages and maybe downloads of obsolete programs like Netscape 3 or DOS 2.5. Is the web ready for retro yet?
Today was super garage sale day. All week the local Rotary posted up signs advertising the event (instead of the usual pancake breakfasts). I got there 10 mins before it opened "No Early Birds" and 20 Rotarians wearing bright pink baseball caps were yelling through bull horns and doing their best to create order in the mob. I donít care if your Mike Tyson, once you put on a pink ball cap no one is going to take you seriously.
When they opened the gate it was like general admission at a Pearl Jam concert. I got trampled and stepped on everything in my way to the stereo section. One of lifeís biggest tragedies (For me anyway) is seeing one of those 3 X 6 feet stereo console units that are all wood and have the most bitchen StarTrek bridge flashing lights 8 track control panels on them. I stood in front of it 20 min with my fists clenched looking up to Valhalla yelling "Why?!!. So cool but so damn big, Iíd need a semi to get it home.
I got 3 cardboard boxes of booty and hereís an abridged list- 4 tiki mugs, 1 tiki lantern, A Buddha mug, A stenographerís keyboard (donít ask), A Little Marcy LP, a cluster of lucite grapes (I love these things), all kinds of liquor toys and a 1950 vacuum that looks like the robot on Lost In Space (with manual). It may have even justified the red neck I got standing in the sun all day. I must becoming assimilated here. "Oh the pain". (And if you get that reference your mommy was a TV too.)
June 20, 2000
Today I found a Doors bootleg and a copy of the Beatles White Album Part 2 (I Ďve got 2 copies of this but no Part 1 and when you think about it on 8 track itís not really a "White Album").
But what was really interesting today was I scored an oversized brown wine carafe that is like 2 feet high and could probably hold like 2 boxes of those yummy wine in a box beverages. The strange thing was when I put it on the counter to be rung up this big spider ran out of it and made a b-line across the floor to the crockery. The clerk freaked out and told me to step on it but I have issues against killing insects that arenít bothering me (especially cool anachronoids). So I hope heís living the good life at Good Will.
June 23, 2000
Iím beginning to notice that my scores here on 8 track tapes are becoming less frequent (or maybe its been a slow month) and this journal seems to be shifting to non 8 track finds. Itís a shame but thatís life, and when you think about it still finding a music format that ceased production about 20 year ago semi regularly isnít so bad.
ButÖ today at Good Will I found a yellow Panasonic pump player for the ridiculously low sum of $2.99. Years ago I found a blue one at a swap meet for $15.00 and was impressed with that deal. Far out. It took a lot of elbow grease and isophoric alcohol to clean it up but it looks and plays perfectly. The gross thing was I opened the battery compartment and it still had batteries in it that looked like they were put inside some time in í78. Those corroded silver Eveready "cat" cells were almost as retro as the player.
Somedays Iím surprised by the general indifference Good Will employees seem to have towards purchases. There are times when I feel less anxiety buying pornography at an adult bookstore then having some old lady at a thrift total a copy of a trashy 70ís novel titled Coffee, Tea or Me. I even have a friend who buys all his underwear there and calls it his "One luxury in life". They must have good stories in the Good Will break room.
1970's Panasonic Electronics Rule!
June 30, 2000
Still ziltch on the 8 tracks here unless your count the useless Kenny Rogers tapes than never seem to go away. So today lets talk about my fellow Ebay creeps in this area . I go to school one mile from Good Will and since it boasts "Fresh Stock Daily" and I have a 2 hour break between classes Iím quite the staple there or the "8 track guy" which is whispered behind my back. I go there for fun and profit but the regulars who I see daily at the same time are pure Ebay. Yep, thereís gold in this there hills and itís usually sitting next to a sock puppet. With the right aesthetic you can do very well. So sit back and meet the gang. Some of the people I know and some Iíve given appropriate nicknames.
Loni Anderson. This woman has one of those Loni helmet hairdos that is obviously dyed black or else sheíd be as gray as a spend charcoal briquette. Her excessive eye make makes here look like some kind of tropical fish. This may sound meaner than it should be because twice this woman beat me to the tiki mugs by minutes . But there are no rules in the arena.
The Ball Cap Guy He always has a lost look on his face and lurks in the record department and has armfuls of the most bland 70ís and 80ís bands. Is there a market for this stuff? We probably should talk.
Ms Shopping Cart Always in My Way She has a friend who made thousands on Ebay and is trying to duplicate her success, but judging by the boring pottery always in her cart sheís not long for this world. Still she spotted me right away as a seller and is real friendly.
Diesel Man Late 40ís unkempt and is big on framed art and guy stuff like tools. Use to buy records but has since stopped looking. No one here seems to hit the kitsch angle, which is my bread and butter.
Ricky Lee Hairstylist who I met at a party. Supplements her income with mugs from Las Vegas casinos. Likes Native American stuff. She rocks.
Bob & Dave Ebay Power sellers, which is an amazing feat since they list 300+ items a week and theyíre all from the thrifts. Real Ebay sluts and list everything they buy (No matter how pedestrian) and are known to drop $200.00 on one thrift run. Iíd need a few tattooed love slaves to do the work they do.
And I hope none of these people have webpages to slag me.