June 10, 2001

Last week someone clipped out a Wall St Journal article for me that basically said Ebay was slowing down and most sales have gone down about 30 %. I can vouch for the 8 Ėtrack market on this figure, Those lots of 10 rock tapes that use to fetch around $10.00 now rarely go for half of that now. For the most part I think itís good. Ebay has brought a lot of the attic tapes in the open again and now that the market has adjusted its only a matter of time before I find That Velvet Underground and Nico tape for under $20.00 instead of the usual $300.00.

My Goodwill has also become overfished lately by the Ebayers and last week I did my Lil trek to the 8 track bin and one of them saw me grabbing the tapes and asked if they sell on Ebay. The container was filled with 101 Strings tapes and Readers Digest Fodder cartridges so part of me wanted to say "yes" to see this woman buy up all this crap and experience the "No Bids Yet" first hand.

Although, I know if she unexpectedly snatched a quad tape (Which Iím certain she hasnít a clue of what quad is.). Sheís get at least $10.00 for it and the honeymoon for that thrift would be over. Iím not even going to start with her on portable players.

So I told her it was my hobby and she skeptically walked away to the board games. She didnít sound convinced of my story and Iím the worst liar in the world (This makes me the odd man out in chat rooms, think about it.).

So part of me wants to go back tomorrow and find those "comacore" tapes gone.

 

June 18, 2001

An 8 track issue that doesnít get much ink are recordable blank tapes and like everything else about the format I have standards for these too. Finding a prerecorded home made blank with listenable music on it is a rare bird and the best Iíve unearthed was a very choppy recording of The Electric Light Orchestra. You donít want to know the worst one Iíve found but it had kids making farting noises though out it. For me bootlegs fill this niche well. Occasionally IĎm surprised with the recording off a mid 70ís radio station and these are always fun. I have one from Hawaii with "The Story of Star Wars" on it peppered with a hambone DJ (Kamasami Kong) and somewhat dated commercials. Iíve learned long ago when you videotape a TV show or movie never to press pause when it comes to an advertisement. Years later theyíre often the best things on the tape. I have a MTV Alternative Nation to prove it.

The good thing about blank carts is the very low resell value. Fifty cents is the ceiling and getting them for a dime is the standard. Iíve also learned not to buy prerecorded tapes. The funny thing about 8 tracks that doesnít happen with cassette tapes is when you tape over the existing music you get lots of ghosting. This isnít the friendly kind of ghosting and with the time I invest in recording is very irritation. So, I never touch anything that isnít sealed since I donít know where itís been.

Tape length is also a big issue with me. For blanks the "Bigger is Better" philosophy doesnít always apply. A good deal of those thrifty 80-90 min tapes ends up getting snagged and waffled more than they should. As I see it 40 min is the gold standard of blanks.

And if you want to know the best recorder to transfer you records to tape consult the 8 track newsgroup and Iíll stick with my Realistic console.

 

June 26, 2001

I have a friend here who I talk to in a chat room once in a while that also hits yard sales with the same fury that I do. I donít know what he looks like but heís in his 60ís which doesnít really narrow it down since that the chief garage sale demographic here. His aesthetic isnít as well defined as mine but leans towards the power tools (The manly clichť at yard sales). Itís nice to know we have the same pet peeves Ėchildrenís clothing, used undergarments and the anti early bird stance. I have him scooping out rock 8 tracks so now Iím getting a garage sale force. The 8 Team.

Also Iíve been flexing my artistic weenie lately and have a mini art gang here with a possible venue in the future. Weíve unofficially scheduled a dead technology night. As fate would have it my best friend here collects old slide projectors and "lost" 8mm films. I made his day by thrifting an overhead projector last week. If all goes well I hope to set up an 8 track DJ booth shaped like a giant Panasonic Pump. So Iíve been slowly compiling 8 track dance club music with the majority of it from those 80ís record club issues. Fortunately I got most of them just before they became a hot commodity. Mixing will be a chore but I have ideas. Anyone know how to scratch a tape? I got a plan of putting sensing foil on every 3 feet of tape for a "machinegun selector program mix". I just hope this thing gels

July 1, 2001

Quite a few sales this weekend and an unofficial sample of places that have 8 track tapes is about 5% of all yard sales. And most of the time I hit that total on one day and itís a technological desert for months. This Saturday there were two sales that were 180 degrees of each other.

The first one was run by an aging spinster who guarded her box of tapes the way a hen watches over a clutch of eggs. I figured the game out right off when I got that 8 track tag line that goes like "They donít make these anymore." Well they donít have bubonic plague much any more too and that doesnít mean we have a demand for it either. Luckily, with the selection of tapes I could only laugh at her $2.00 apiece tapes- every Willie Nelson and Kenny Rogers imaginable. It was such a natural high walking away from that clip joint empty handed. Iíll be seeing these tapes at The Serenity Thrift Shop very soon, and avoid them there too.

Next was a score that will be sung through out the ages. A couple was being transferred to a new job in Portland and was just about giving everything away. If any of these Earth First tree spikers really want to save the tress they should push all the second hand clothes for toilet paper. The supply is unfathomable.

On the ground next to a Teletubby shirt was a muddy Weltron Space Helmet Player, which was about as out of place as Ted Kennedy at a Jessie Helms fundraiser. Just when think you figured out a personís aesthetic something like this happens.

So I put on my monotone apathetic mode personality and asked "How much for the radio?" and she said "That piece of junk (?!), $10.00". I probably should have bargained a bit but I can live with that. Of course like every portable I seem to find this on had a rotten belt in it and removing and replacing it was a lot harder than changing the oil on my car. I think that this is actually a rite of passage for the 8 track collector and after doing it to a Weltron I think I should get a merit badge. Iíd post a picture but the digital camera is being finicky and its one of the more photographed players (and very photogenic). You can always goggle it.

July 15, 2001

Lately Iíve been feeling like someone is calling all the shots in the greater scheme of things. Fate has become all too obvious and itís like my life is nothing but an allegory for somebody else. I can almost see why less balanced people get paranoid delusions when the veil of Maya is lifted and see certain "random" events and take them as signs to become a monk or stock Jodi Foster.

Yesterday There were 10 sales in the area and once you eliminate the homespun handicrafts the number was reduced to 7. The first one had lots of toys and one was a box head of the "you do the hairstyle and makeup" of Cher. I couldnít stop laughing and plucked down the $.50 for it. Sure beats a Barbie head.

Two sales late another garage had a small collection of Mego superhero dolls that looked like a dog had their way with them years ago. The only decent one was an exotic one with "Dragon Lady" on the box, and what do you know it was a Cher figure in a Bob Mackie gown. I felt like I was on a roll and had to have it.

Next was a unshaven gold prospector type selling tools and some audio equipment. He had an Akai reel to reel that looked like he brought it back form Nam. It had an 8 track player on the side so I asked if he had any tapes for sale. He hollered for his wife and she had a small shoebox of country music. But resting on top was a bootleg with JFK, RFK and Martin Luther King label and wouldnít you know it was a Cher tape.

Whatís the message here? Assassinated political figures and Cher? Iíve always been a loner so Iím waiting for further orders. Maybe Iíll play it backward and rent Moonstruck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 24,2001

Didn't get out on the road cuz of trip to Seattle. Seattle pays a decent  living wage but they get it all back with sky high rents and charging a kings random for stuff that you can get here for practically nothing. To give you an example I got a 16 mm sound projector for 5 bucks at a thrift in Sequim but saw the same one there in a "retro" shop window for $225.00. Even the city has its finger in the pie when I got a $25.00 parking ticket on a Saturday at that. I hit some great bars thick with atmosphere and character and a music store and played with a theremin which was something I've always wanted to do. One of the guys I was with told me that there was a hotel around that had all these 8 track players on the front counter and the owner always brags that he has 1500 tapes. It was late in the evening but he promised to introduce us next time I come into town, maybe next month. That's one thing the town has going for it, people with similar obsessions than mine and it's not that hard to find them. I was at a flea market and some dork was walking around with a lp by the band The 3 Sons. I thought I was the only person who listened to them.

 

July 29, 2001

I donít know if this is the end of an era but last week I took 4 tapes up to the Goodwill check out and the clerk said $4.96! It stopped me in my tracks and I explained to the lowly worker that these were $.39 on the last trip and what gives. She called the manager and she didnít understand my beef. Iíve all ready passed work to a few friends to grab a few and pretend to buy them and act outraged with the grand total.

It probably wonít make a lick of diff but its always nice to plant the seen. Salvation Army chares a dime a tape and St. Vincent DePaul is a quarter. I canít quit without a fight.

Itís funny how 8 track tape classic rock has made it into supermarkets. Some nights in the produce dept I find myself being serenaded by the Steve Miller ban between the "Cashier on 5" announcements. I think itís a disturbing trend. Originally muzak was released to control people. Not the later "You will not steal" subliminal message way abut at certain times of the day they increased and decreased the tempo to encourage productivity on the slower parts of the day.

My fear is now that its gone "rock" is now in the foreground  the mind control element will probably be more overt and intense. This may explain the unexpected jump in the sales of those singing rubber fish that I now see at yard sales for under $5.00. Did anyone really want that?

Beware, once K-tel releases a Safewayís Greatest Hits CD weíll all be zombified as those mall rat ghouls on that Dawn of the Dead movie

August 7, 2001

On a lark I headed back to Seattle last weekend. I had a friend in a Fire Circus who needed people to stand in the wings with fire extinguishers and blankets. I got to rub elbows with the fire marshal and thought I looked authoritative with the uniform and red vest but most people said I looked like I was on community service. Not a single spark flew my way but laws are laws.

The Streets of Seattle have a logic I havenít figured out yet. Iím usually a passenger in that town and am kind of glad of that but this time I was the only one in my entourage that didnít have a prior DUI conviction and the role had changed. After 3 hours sleep thereís nothing like merging on to freeway at 70 mph and coming to a stop every half mile and doing it all over again. No wonder everyone there seems so on edge. Why do they even need Starbucks?

Some people do have social graces there. A guy was being yelled at a crosswalk from an obvious intoxicated fellow in a car and walked right up to the irate driver for clarification of the insult and demanded an apology. He was so well spoken and I think he would have gotten it if the light didnít change.

I also saw a knife fight in front of the place I was staying. It looked so West Side Story and after one of the guys got a big slice across his belly he composed himself and walked away without missing a beat. Just another day on the street I guess.

I guess I should talk about 8 tracks since that is the common bond in this journal. Since I didnít have time to plan a proper "8 track road trip" I had no time to grab a handful of listenable music and was stuck with the pile on the car floor. When I got to the fire circus to unload the car I was playing the Soundtrack of Xanadu and it got the attention of a guy parked next to me who was a big Olivia Newton John buff. He got a kick out of it and what made it fun was he was a bear fan and his car was deck out with all these statues and sticker of bears. Then I went on how anything with an overdone theme makes the world a better place (Sports bars, Tiki Bars even Planet Hollywood) and he agreed.

 

 

August 12, 2001

I

Not a bad day for the track. First on the yard sale venture I ran into the typical "I wonít breakup the set" 8 track monger and for $20.00 I got a Radio shack player and about 200 tapes. These 8 track "grab bags" make life interesting. And now Iíve decided that I have no qualms about throwing out country or gospel tapes in the trash. They just wonít go away and I canít walk 5 feet in this house without tripping over a tape. I think my future in 8 tracks is selling off the crap and keeping the cream. Right now I have tape upon tape of Chicago, Styx, and Helen Reddy taking up valuable living space.

For the curious hereís a few of the good tapes in the horn of plenty I found-
QUAD- Touch by Morton Subotnick (Record buffs may recognize him from the "Switched On Moog LP" of the late 60ís.)
Thin Lizzy- Fighting
Soul Bother Number 1 James Brown
A Nice Sinatra Boxed set, very classy


II

Living near a gambling casino is a great place to rub elbows with the B list celebrities. Itís a nice diversion to throwing my money away on Keno for the pine dream of winning a one way ticket out of this hellhole. Last night Jimmie "Kid Dynamite, The Good Times guy" Walker had a free comedy show and it gave me a reason to get a tape autographed. He comes from the standup school of the 70ís like Robin Williams and Steve Martin. IT makes you wonder how Robin and Steve are major starts while Jimmie is running the casino circuit doing bits on the flea bag hotels heís staying in.

Physically, heís a lot shorter and I thought- 5í10 and has a beer gut but, his delivery is still Dy-no-mite. Sadly, that catch phrase was missing from his act. Then again, when was the last time you heard Robin Williams say Nahnoo-Nahnoo?

So after the show he was at a booth selling t-shirts and autographed photos and in 3 min the line to buy them was gone so I went up with the 8 track and he said "8 Tracks Iíve hit the big time". Then I asked him why he wasnít opening for Janet Jackson and he came back and wanted to know if I had her phone number handy.

My first signed 8 track!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 27, 2001

Not much to report this week. Graduated with an AAS and the long job search game begins. I just wish those rejected resume letters gave a reason for being cast aside. Iím started to cringe at the essay questions the longer applications have and when they ask about hobbies itís the kiss of death. Try it someday, ask a coworker or stranger what their hobby is and youíll be disappointed at things like "going to the movies, DVDs or gardening" Iím just as confused and uninterested that they are in 8 track collecting. But in all fairness trackers are a very similar demographic, late 30ís, white, male Stereotype. Worse is we all want the same tapes and an Ebay search will clarify that.

That shouldnít stop anyone and lately Iíve been enjoying the cheap thrills like The Stylistics, Wings or Boz Scags.

Now that Iím done with school and unemployed I get to become reacquainted with the ebay freaks who queue up in the morning at Goodwill. Most of the people from last update are still there but now we have two new members who I affectionately call Bartells and James since they resemble those old men on that late 80ís wine cooler commercial. They donít take too kindly to seeing me since now they have a new predator in the LP dept. They have a hankering for the old country greats like Roy Orbrison and Johnny Cash. Stuff which they can have with my blessings, I just hate the way they scrutinize every fricken Lp like diamonds for scratches and dust and monopolize the bin. Sometime so extreme that they go to a phonograph in the electronic dept and give it a spin just like the record stores they use to have in the 70ís. If this area was any more retro Iíd be able to watch my favorite show as a kid James at 15

 

September 2, 2001

As this summer winds down I have to say itís been a somewhat disappointing garage sale season. I blame it on the early bird ebay people and high expectations I had from last year. You have to remember I came here where the term garage sale was synonymous with soiled childrenís clothes and happy meal toys. Oddly, this weekend I noticed that there was no less than 3 sales stock with Elvis Memorabilia. One observation Iíve seen with these people is they assume anything with Elvis Presleyís name on it is worth its weight in gold (or maybe Velvetta). I have to laugh at the LPs that are held together with black electric tape selling for $5.00 and those damn postage stamps that are probably arenít going to go more than the actual postage. Iím glad Iím indifferent to The "King".

I did find a few happily non collectable worthless 8 tracks of the K-tel variety. These are from K-telís Hellenistic 8 track period. When K-tel was in its flower they put out compilations with titles like, Disco Rocket, Star Power or Pure Power. These tapes are of the "so sensitive itís coming out of my ass" soft rock genre that is still overplayed on those "Beautiful Music" radio stations. Instead of the in your face laundry detergent graphics they look like they were made by guy who designed Hallmark cards and have titles like "Together, Emotions, Expressions and Sundown. Reminds me of that old cooking proverb "You canít polish a turd".

September 12, 2001

Some terrorists hit New York yesterday but in keeping up with the spirit of Elvis Presley music Iím going to keep it friendly. In the 60ís with all the social issues like race riots and Vietnam The King keep singing about the problems of Kissing Cousins, Suspicious Minds and his shoes. Sometimes is nice to live in a world of sunshine, lollypops and rainbows.

Unlike most people I don't quite remember exactly where I was when I heard the news, I was on this puter and the news sites were all overloaded so I friend gave me a disjointed synopsis that sounded like a disaster of the week, so it seemed like terrorism lite in his words. Maybe the magnitude will sink in later. I got lots of stuff on my mind.

In the spoils this weekend I found 2 tiki mugs and one tape. I figure no one wants to hear me sing the praises of an RKO compellation tape (deserving as it may be). So the subject of the day are tapes I canít get myself to throw out yet. I donít listen to them but one of these days doggone it I will.

  1. Chicago VI, With the 20 something vol of this band there maybe enough music to have a greatest hits one day and since Iíve never heard of a single song on this tape it will have to gather cobwebs. Bands donít get much worse than this, in my opinion.
  2. Best of Bee Gees, This was before The lead singer became a eunuch and less interesting to me. Why canít more bands completely reinvest themselves this way? America could stop wasting their time on Gambling Casino Tours and start doing Hip Hop.
  3. Grace Jones-Muse, Wonderful persona boring music. I wish women were scary again Iíd like to see this woman go on tour with Casey Kasems wife it would be better than Halloween.
  4. Walter Murphy, Rhapsody In Blue, A follow up to his disco version of A Fifth of Beethoven. Not a happy place to be sure. Today Walter makes all the music on the animated TV show The Family Guy. So this one may be ripe for a listen soon.

 

 

 

 

 

September 20, 2001

Looks like those blown up buildings have tricked down to this backwoods Smallsville and after weeks of 15+ sales per Saturday we now get a mere 8. This really is a recession as my flat ebay sales have confirmed. Iím trying to be my best on being a good American and have been buying a few wanted 8 track tapes that seem to be going pretty reasonably (finally got a Eurythmics cart). Itís a buyers market for 8 tracks and I canít think of a better way to be patriotic.

May have a real job in the near future at the radio station here. The whole station is smaller than this house and houses the 2 big AM stations here. One is a country station with the format beamed over from LA and has no human in it. The other is all news and Rush Limbaud. If I get the position one of my duties will be fielding phone calls when the station preempt his show for a local soccer game. I hear a lot of calls during this time this the cancellation is a conspiracy, ah Dittoheads, this guy is about as revolutionary as midget wrestling. One of the duties is updating their webpage and I gave them this URL as an example of my work. So if I get it this page may actually have a function and if I donít I have no qualms about following my vision and being denied.

I was channel surfing on Sunday afternoon and it seems that now theyíre so many variations of that Antique Roadshow that makes the original look like Emmy material. These shadows never focus on the history of the item but instead have the big appraisal at the small table which is almost unvaryingly overinflated estimation, assuring the only stuffed animal cult at the yard sales. Anyway I was watching that one hosted by the guy who use to be on Night Court and he had a segment on radio collectors and gave as a brief description of The Aquatron 8 track player. I couldnít have been prouder.

 

September 28, 2001

Things are returning to normal, yesterday the fast food flags have been raised from their half mast status and the local newspaper editorials are back to the virtues of salmon fishing. Even the John Brich Billboard is back to it's anti UN rhetoric. It was vandalized  a month ago and just got rebuilt. With all the letters in the paper that say "If you don't have an American flag in front of your house, shame on you." I sort of welcome alternative opinions now even if I don't agree with them. 10 garage sales this week and in the tradition of great wars it's time to hoard stuff. Chocolate, Nylon Stockings, and 8 tracks. I couldn't enlist if I wanted to.

 

October 8, 2001

For the first time ever in the classified ads a garage sale mentioned 8 track tapes and a player in the description.

I donít know about you but when I hear some non tracker mention 8 tracks I turn into Pavlovís dog and salivate. Iím not an early bird at sales but made it a point to camp in front of this trailer to get first dibs.

Well the player turned out to be a bulky juggernaut phonograph with a quad tape player built in and the tapes were 6 non quad tapes (the woman didn't have a clue what quad was) with titles like "Living Strings and "Piano Magic". Strange how peopleís filters see these items as a selling point (But in all fairness this week I ended up selling an 8 track lot on Ebay to a fellow Sequimian who lives about 10 away from me, he hasnít much of a collection but the seeds are planted, just what I needed more competition). And with Goodwill making stocking X-mas items all ready Ebay is starting to look good, I never thought Iíd say that.

But on a side note there seems to be a revival in the area of those 70ís lucite grape cult. In the last month Iíve scored a lot of these and they all look the same- Cast resin balls mounted on driftwood with plastic leaves. A fun item to be sure and what I find most intriguing about them is the mystery that surrounds them. Iíve never read a word about them in those "Retro" "Remember the 70ís" books and would love to see an advertisement of them. Some gas station worker here said that her mother use to make them in a kit, which Iíd love, to thrift one day. My theory is that after the national ban on those "Clackers" (These were two resin balls on a string and the idea was to bang them together to make a Clicking noise, every kid in the 70s had one and also got hit in the nose with them too). There were warehouses full of these balls and some genius decided to make them decorative with a natural hippie theme and it caught on big time. Anyone else got a screwball explanation?

 

 

 

                           Planet of the Grapes?

 

October 21, 2001

This recession has forced its tight money policies in the thrift world, It strikes me funny that either consciencely or unconsciencely people are pondering that now since all the layoffs itís time to hold on to those 8 track tapes. That #3 8-track noble truth about forcing creativity fits so well in these times. But if anyone wants to pawn a Weltron 2005 for rent money Iím all ears.

Iím wondering if someone is cyberland has a vinyl record journal since thereís so shortage of them and you can find some amazing things that many times surpass 8 tracks in selection. Iím not a big fan of Rap Music but when the CD coup ate up records these hip hop Djís with their "scratching" kept the demand for turntables and needle alive and well. All we need is some musical genre to embrace 8 tracks and youíll see bootleg tapes at your local gas-n-go. Iíll give you a head start. I got this idea reading some Jung article. He believes we have these unconscience archetypes from cave man days. So when a baby hears a snake hiss it automatically recoils in fear in an instinctual mode.

Well pop culture has been around for a few generations so I sort of believe that the babies of today have these new cerebral images and certain associated behavior when they see pictures of Tony The Tiger and The Pillsbury Doug Boy (Batman is a good example of this). You want villains how about the Hamburglar and those Crest Cavity Creeps. All thatís needed is some audiovisual alchemist to bring out the covert forces and mix in 8 track cartridges and stand back. Iíll be working with some Seattle troop and hope to bounce this idea off of them, and if all goes well have an 8 track striper in the works.

This is what happens when I canít find tapes.

October 29, 2001

Iíve been having these marathon tape making sessions for several recent projects. The first one is an 80 min muzak tape for some art thing in an abandoned Safeway store (Ballard district Seattle). Itís becoming a chore dealing with other co-artistes. Now I know why when you go to a museum and see art on the wall it only has one signature on the bottom instead of a joined effort. In a way itís a good thing that this "performance art" is tuning in to a simple tow dimensional installation. I sort of like the idea of replacing humans with mannequins, they never throw fits and I can put them neatly in the trunk when everything is all over.

The other tape is for Halloween fun, Itís kind of difficult finding functional Halloween music so I had to alter the endless loop to about 8 min per program. The music is from scratchy LPs that fit the mood. So far Iíve got stuff by Zackerly, Anton La vey, sound effects, Bach, Mrs. Miller and maybe Brittany Spears. The Monster Mash is the X-mas carol of Halloween and sort of overplayed. Iím happy with My Dinner With Drac instead.

Now that winter has arrived overnight and since I live in a retirement village everyone has pulled up steaks and is moving south for the duration. Yard sales are becoming a luxury and combined with anal retentive thrift store donations are forcing me to be more creative in this page.

 

 

 

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