May 15, 2002
Some people say that George Bush didnít become president until the 9-11 attacks before that it was all that "he stole the election" spiel and nay saying that still goes on in Berkley College. I can now relate to him on a subtle level anyway, since this weekend I became a resident of this town. My initiation came at a lumberjack exposition. Lumberjacks came from all over Washington with most of them being unemployed (itís a spotted owl thing) from Kurt Cobainís town Aberdeen. Those Aberteenians are a strange lot and always seem to make jokes about rain. I later realized that in this town we all make jokes about inbreeding so itís a regional thing. Even todayís paper had an article about some guy getting caught having a romantic moment with his cousin. These stories happen quite a bit around here. Anyway I saw my first tractor pull and wood chopping competition. Iíd make a lot of sarcastic remarks about them but Iím sure youíve heard them all and I was sort of overwhelmed that I made the trek out to see them first hand. And with the redolence of over fried concession food in the air I was in hog heaven.
But since this town is a place for all people all the time coincidentally The Red Lion Hotel 15 miles away was hosting the 13th annual cross dressers convention. So our beloved Indian Casino kicked off the celebration with the Glamazon Follies show. It was about what youíd expect with all those giant men lipsinking to Cher and Madonna music. Iíve seen it before but after the show my gang went to the bar there and soon a table of poorly dress scruffy looking guys sat on the next table and overheard our comments and it turned out they were the performers. After 2 combats and a mai tai some how the topic of 8 tracks came up and Madonna was sort of interested when I told him that you can find his music on 8 track. Then by fate of coincidence I dragged that guy over to my basement to give him an 8 track tour. I showed him a lot of my "Diva" tapes and he was impressed. But I think what excited him the most of my collection of Panasonic Pump players that had one featured on the movie Hedwig and the Angry Inch. He thought it was a prop. I think we have another convert.
Next week I get to be swap meet seller in the arty section of Seattle Freemont lots of records and tapes Iíll see you there.
His real name is Bernie
May 23. 2002
I got a cool player this week and put it on this page.
June 1, 2002
A bit of drama this week that 8 tracks fit in to, my old stand by Sears car player was going through the motions on K-Tels Disco Fire and at the track change it did a Ka but no Chunk. I was a bit distressed and reached over to jiggle the tape and in my brown study ended up side swiping a mailbox. In this town everything is sort of done in a big way and this mailbox was built more like pylon and got some nice red paint scuffs on it but my car has to big dents on it and the side mirror got yanked out of its socket. The player however was playing track 2 and 3 simultaneously. It was fun for a while but in time it got stuck at track 3 and played only that. I had a date in the next town shortly after and the thrill of hearing Track 3 of Supertrampís Crime of The Century got old in about 90 min. So today I jerry rigged a Pioneer player I had in the basement, sadly this machine is a quad and I only have 2 speakers in the car so its not up to its potential. I love the sound of this machine and a few of the tapes have new meaning to me now with the crisper highs and somewhat faster playing speed. The only thing I miss is the FF setting, which I really took for granted. I have to admit that I have a great deal of tapes that have only one amazing song on them and the rest are sheer torture.
I was thinking that disco is probably the only genre that can be followed from its beginning to end solely on 8 track tape and collecting it in it's entirely might be a worthy undertaking. Could you imagine a box the size of a refrigerator with all the tapes of that period. You could travel the state fair circuit next to the horse semen booth and get more interest.
June 15, 2002
Olympia is in the future and its been really difficult letting go of my fun possessions and saying bye to 700 8 track tapes that I gave away to friends and passed on to thrift stores. The first 100 was the hardest but after some self talk I figure I never liked that band Styx and ask myself why I still covet these tapes thinking that maybe one day Iíll wake up and realize that this is a great band. I can live with the sour grapes and after filling a box that you could fit a small washing machine in with 8 track tapes am happy with my decision. I use to get mean looks from the guy at the Religious thrift here so I have to make all these clandestine last night trips to them to drop off undesirable items. I put them right next to the signs that say "Do Not Leave Items In Front" and "Itís A Crime to Leave Garbage On the Street". When I moved here 3 years ago I brought with me 27 boxes and I hope to do about 20 if all goes well.
Next week I work on tape decks in the same fashion. Iíll probably keep the good sounding ones and portables but those built like a Sherman tank AM/FM record playing ones have got to go.
To complicate things today was the giant Rotary club yard sale that took up nearly a block and I had to let such amazing things slip through my fingers. 30 8 tracks a bunch or stereo test records and a super cool swag lamp that Iíd never use. But I couldnít resist the Steve Miller Band tapes and a Van Morrison and Them tape Iíve wanted for years.
June 16, 2002
I see why they have that sign in front of the thrift now. Today I has some Lps to drop off and last nights delivery looked like it was mauled by a tiger. I've also noticed Good wills drop off point is monotored by security cameras. I can see a reality show in the future "The Worlds Most Dangerous Thrifts."
June 23, 2001
I went to Goodwill today and saw my all 300 tapes that I donated last week in the cassette bin. I felt a little like the guy who had to give his dog to the shelter since he had no room for it and was peering through the bars to say good bye. I hope they end up in a good home. If things go to plan I should be living here and am anxious to explore the town http://www.hatc.org/olycrest.htm
July 9. 2001
After a 18 hour moving marathon I've arrived in moister Olympia, Once again its nice to have a Convenience store that isn't 6 miles away and places that stay open 24 hours. There's a Denny's near by but a more fun Rib Eye has waitress that actually cradle cigarettes while they take your order. Sadly this place is like the rest of the country and Goodwill never carries 8 tracks Salvation Army was a little more evasive and said they come in rarely but I doubt. I saw about 20 at Value Village but all those announcements over the PA about how great the store is "With treasures at affordable prices" seemed a little too coy for me. Its like if garage sales had advertising firms. This place yielded a Smokey Robinson cassette. What I do get a charge about this place is the big Olympia brewery looming in the background that is owned by Miller now. It was amusing hitting all the downtown dive bars and not having a single bartender push the beer and in most cases the term "cat piss" was dropped whenever I enquired on it. I have memories from high school when Olympia beer was just a fowl but affordable. It still comes in stubby bottles so you can reenacted that scene on the movie Warriors When I was in Ireland The Guinness brewery was the hallmark of the trip and there was such pride and tradition in the brewing process but this is joke. I think the government should get involved.
I'd love to put all these links to Olympia on this page but ever since I upgraded? to the latest browser the ability to link has been lost even in html. I can feel Bill Gates presence in this state more than ever.
July 16, 2002
The crowd at Goodwill is made up of the similar overfed housewives but theyíre more chatty here and always talk about the merchandise like itís the stock market. I havenít sold anything on ebay in a while and now that I can step back Iím happy I didnít become like these business people. Thrifting is fun and I canít describe the feeling of sitting back with my feet propped on my mushroom foot stool listening to The Quick Joey Small 8 track on the cheep Panasonic console. Iím glad Iím able to walk away with no bitter psyche. I maybe biased since when my father passed I was handed a trust account that gives me the option of not working if I live beneath my means and since Iíve been doing that all my life itís very nice. Strangely, I met some guy at a yard sale and got into talking about scores and trends and he told me his opening a retro shop 45 mins away and I may work there part time. Howís that for opportunity knocking. He looks like John Goodman so stay tuned. Weíre going to have a power dinner. Later Iíll put in the rant on Olympia Beer.
July 23, 2002
For some odd reason the only tapes Iíve encountered here these last two weeks have been either the Readers Digest 3 to a plastic box or nothing but country music. Somedays it doesnítí pay to get up in the morning. This is one of those towns were keeping up with the Jones is the rule and obsolete is a bad word. The most retro thing Iíve found at a sale so far has been a VCR. One thing though is this place is perfect for tiki mugs (9 so far and counting). I find Goodwill odd in that at the in the Port Angeles one once the doors open there is a mad dash for the ceramic sections for those animal figurines and such and here everyone heads for the household appliances. Ebay is not the big thing for early morning thrift crowd but most of them either have shops or sell at the Tacoma swap meet. Still, itís a horse race when the doors open up at 9am and even an employee there yells through the PA "Thank you for not running", nice try. While weíre on the subject a few thrifters go to the Olympia Goodwill but live near the big Tacoma one because that place is a mad house in the morning with people taking stuff right out of your hands and from your cart Iím told. Is that fun? I love being a bottom feeder and having only one other person here who looks at Lps. And once he put his pile down and I thought they were some records that got lost and he told me I could have a few if I needed them. His tone changed when I grabbed a Bow Wow Wow and old Plimsouls record, but at least he complemented me on taste. That's a first
August 7, 2002
So much for Pioneer car 8 track players being the hallmark of the industry. That one I put in the car about 2 months ago went belly up and allowed me to play track 1 and occasionally track 3 with a little jostling. I drove this way for a couple of weeks and got a few as is players on the internet that didnít even do this and one of them emitted a smoky odor and that was its swan song.
So I was sort of pleased this week at a yard sale that looked like and auto junkyard where the fellow had a cardboard box with 3 different 8 track car players in them. These players looked like they were made before WW2 and had no brand names on them. To give you an idea of the quiaintness the one I finally put in the car has a knob on it that says "Loudness" instead of volume. Itís a dull gold color that the tapes stick in occasionally. Its nice to have 4 channels again but I wonder if there's anything state of the art in this field?
Still havenít found what I would call a great tape score but Goodwill finally got some rock tapes in or the late 70s fair- Sat Night Fever soundtrack, Fleetwood Mac Rumors and the like.
I met a fellow tiki collector, or so I thought he was all enthused about the subject but when it came to producing the goods he had only 4 mugs, I have over 200. At least his hearts in the right place I remember when I had only 30 8 track tapes I would focus on them night and day so thereís something to be said about that. Donít underestimate people like this.
August 27, 2002
Iíve been hanging out with a lot of new people lately and itís given me the chance to play 8 track DJ in the car. One the novelty of the format ends you want to hear the good stuff. Most of my passengers are of the early 30s classic rock formula and pleasing them is as easy as putting on any Rolling Stones tape buts itís the ones in their early 20s (my roommate is 18) where it becomes a challenge. This demographic always surprises me on what they were exposed to since most radio stations rarely dwell on the K-tel years which I so much love. Even new wave bands like the obscure Suburban Lawns and the Sports are long gone from any real public forum. This is why I like 8 tracks as a medium for preservation. Not only are you saving the format your also keeping the rarer music around. Like it or not weíre all curators of our own collections. Iíve been a collector all my life and still get a mild shock whenever I hit an estate sale and never see anything beyond the Wal mart aesthetic. I may have too much time on my hands.
This weekend I found a bunch of tapes of decent bands like Pink Floyd, Aerosmith and 2 bad Rolling Stones tapes (Itís Only Rock and Roll and Metamophosis). I got the usual spiel from the woman selling them saying that she has a lot more and will never get rid of them thankfully, I was spared the "These are collectors items" and got them for a dime each. I also got one of those 8 track to cassette adapters and my roomie in high heaven playing is Reba tapes. I think its sort of sacrilege and to the medium but see it as a stepping stone to the field. Just wait until I bring the U2 tapes to the car and theyíll be an epiphany.
October 18, 2002
Itís amazing how working a full time job leaves you no tome for anything. Itís all about waking up getting ready for work, getting home to sleep and starting over again. Iíve been on a hectic 5 week training schedule with a faceless corporation learning tech support for a wireless phone. The place handles all the complaints and phone service for LA and in tiny Olympia, Wa itís an employee mill where the new employees are fired as quick as they can be replaced because of the Draconian rules and regulations. Anyone who surfs the web on company time or misses a day is automatically terminated, you get the picture. I graduate in 2 weeks and will soon enjoy such perks as "jeans Friday" and a personal pizza at graduation. Not having a real 9-5 job since 1999 I find myself with a hard transition and wonder how or why I did this before. This combined with a gay Wiccan teenaged roommate and you can figure out why I donít update as much as I use to.
I finally got up before 10 am this Sat and took a short drive down the I-5 to the Tacoma Flea Market on the grounds of the abandoned drive Inn, Just like in my old Hawaii home dead drive inns become flea markets on Sunday and the big screen is left up as a landmark. I sort of like the idea of keeping the remains and opening something new. I love tiki bars and watched a few go ways of the Doo Doo bird so it would be nice if the next proprietor would incorporate them into something like Tiki Rite Aid. Its come to the point where I get sentimental of the Safeway downtown that hasnít changed one bit from the 70ís and still has the skinny isles and rounded ceilings. For once the handicapped take a back seat to supermarket aesthetics.
Anyway since summer is over we get only the hardcore sellers with such swap meet standbys as rusty tools and baby furniture but one of them had a small collection of 8 track. Sadly the most rockin was Barry Manilow so I ended up with a Sammy Davis Jr. TV special tape and was almost content. Right now Iím at the point in my life where I can easily slip into the that whole "I still listen to the same crap I use to in high school" cross roads or I can expand my scope and try something new. The image of a middle aged balding man in a convertible Mustang cranking the Eagles is a rabbit hole I donít really want to fall into. The only thing worse would be trying to recapture my youth with Korn playing. Doesnít make Sammy look all that bad once you get past The Candy Man.
November 1. 2002
Yesterday I drove 2.5 hours back to my old Washington home -Sequim to visit friends and relatives. Life has never been to terrible stable since my move in July and part of my brain felt that since I have changed Sequim should too but in a jaded sort of way everything was just as I left it, unemployment, boredom and Heffenweisen beer with lemons floating on top of the brew. You may think this is an exaggeration but what clinched it was when I went back to my fav Goodwill I checkout the 8 track tape bin (It was exploding with tapes from a distance) and saw that 3/4 of the carts were the one that I donated there in Summer. Once again I was holding Herb Alpert and several duplicate Grand Funk Railroad tapes that I picked out like in a police line up. So if anyone tells me you can't go back they should move to Sequim Washington. On a side note one irony I see in Olympia is blocks of healthy restaurants and homeopathic shops that stress bodily wellness in a incense and wind chime zeitgeist mind set but I've never been in a town with such a fat demographic, it boggles the mind.
December 25, 2002
Nothing worth writing about for the last few months (as the lack of writing show), two weeks ago I almost had something that would have been a legendary 8 tracker wet dream if only the tapes were decent. I was driving on one of those endless stretches of roads and the only sign of commerce were cardboard placards with advertisements like "Kettle corn and Smoked Salmon". So I stopped at a general / second hand store. Shack where you would find a display of energy drinks next to a stack of decade old, dog-eared Playboy mags the owner got tired of whacking off to and put them up for sale. In the back was one of those late 70s phonograph 8 track home units and something like 300 tapes for fifty cents each. As usual the punch line to this story is the majority of them were irritating gospel music. Is there a market anywhere for this type of music and does anyone collect it? This sounds like lone of those fringe web page that would belong on one of those "Yahoo top 10 for the day" lists.
My guess is that these tapes have been undisturbed since the 80s and will probably be around long after the fad of the energy drinks there (maybe even Playboy).
Other than that, I have to say I need a bigger place to keep my players and tapes in. It a damn shame when I have to put my cool space aged Prominent player behind the bar due to lack of space. Any score of more than 100 tapes now would end up in a corner of this over crowed dwelling, I just might have to go against my semi nomadic life style and do the home mortgage thing one day. Iíve been holding out since I was preparing for a middle-aged crisis that would have had me selling my self and becoming a monk or something. Iím still the ever pack rat with the increasing pressure of getting a DVD player which is so much like when 8 track tapes were slowly phased out, when I can walk into a video store and only see DVDs and month old VHS tapes in the $1.99 bin the cycle will be complete. I do applaud these clever computer geeks who know how to reprogram the players so you can tape the DVD to videocassette, thus going against the master plan of them. I already have my rom for this I just have to take the plunge from tapes to CDs and Iím set. Anyone got a cheap AMP 1500 player for sale or I could trade some 8 tracks for it.
March 8, 2003
Between finding nothing but stereotypical 8 track finds like The Sat Night Fever Soundtrack and Fleetwood Macís rumors at every turn and a computer that I just got tired of having seize on me at the crucial parts I managed to first replace that rust bucket with a laptop and completely out of character at the ďnever to recycleĒ their rummage at the Value Village I found an unusual catch of 8 tracks that was filled with lots of fun Prog and Soul tapes. Stop me if youíve heard any of these bands- Zwol, Crow, White Witch, Christine, Gentle Giant and Five Man Electrical Band, Mojo. They restored my faith that there are still tapes out there worth hunting for and I was so pumped that I went to the always disappointing Salvation Army and was disappointed again and have no regrets. The first thing you learn about collecting anything is more time than not your going to find anything and that only makes finding something more exceptional.
On a sad note our beloved Olympia Beer Brewery will go under sometime before July. This townís economy is recessed enough and with less jobs I may have to take the Madonna 8 tracks out of my car for safety when things get tighter. I sort of enjoy living under the shadow of a brewery and whatís unique about this one is across the street is the abandoned original Olympia brewery and shortly the I-5 will be book ended by 2 dead beer factories.
March 28, 2003
Tacoma is a big spread out town 20 miles from Olympia where nothing ever happens and there never anything to do unless you like to spend half your pay check at the Tacoma Dome on some classic rock band like Tom Petty.. A lot of people call is the hell hole of Washington and usually thatís not up for debate. Every 8 track score Iíve gotten in this area has been down south in the towns with populations of 5000 or less and even the Tacoma Goodwill is much to be desired. Yesterday was a bit of an exception when I got lost there (as usual) and found the Old stand by thrift St Vincent DePaul in a small suburb. This was the first time in memory that I went to a music dept in a thrift and saw that it had more 8 track tapes than vinyl, sitting up the staircase was a large 6 tier book shelf stuffed with 8 track tapes. Iíve been since conditioned not to salivate at a site like this since for the most part most of these 8 track sculptures tend to be mostly country and ďtooĒ easy listening. 4 of those yellow Readers Digest confirmed that presumption but I still left sort of pleased with a few nifty carts and the satisfaction that there is life in Tacoma other than Tom Petty.
The stuff I scored was gotten based on the cover art more than anything else. Two that stick out are a smazzy tape by The Hesitations titled Solid Gold featuring a soul band on the cover dressed in black and gold amulets around their necks, but listening to it is like hearing white mans soul with our fave sound from those ďMusic of your lifeĒ stations that they play in the backgrounds of retirement homes. Beware of tapes put out by the North American Leisure Corp, you have been warned. Next is a fun one by Chick Corea called Friends with cute little Smurf figures on the cover playing musical instruments. The tape sounds like get away car chase jazz music, not bad. The last one is Don McLeans follow up album to American Pie that is self titled. After a listen to this heís still a one hit wonder, but what a hit it was.
On a side note Iíll just mention that this area is the king of those Old Jim Beam I Dream of Jeannie empty bottles. Iíve got six since Iíve been here and now have one that was turned into a table lamp added to the collection. Almost makes me want to start up Ebay again.
April 26, 2003
I was at Sequim last week for a surprise party and that place is actually getting an art scene together. Hidden among the strip of antique vendors and useless strip mall is a coffee place called The Buzz. The owner of this place has his heart in the right place and now has art on the walls from my pal there and is working on getting a movie theater setup shortly. This place is open until 10 pm now which may sound funny but in a place where they roll up the sidewalk at 5 pm it very earth shattering. Living in Olympia I sometimes forget my humble roots and take an all night Dennyís for granted. One fun fact I found out is Simpsonís creator Matt Groening went to school at our famous Evergreen college in the 70ís. I was told the addy of the Simpsonís house on Evergreen Terrace was named after that and even Krusty the Clown pays homage to a cable show in Oly with the Same name, who knew? When he went to college they had no conventional grading system with A-F and it was only pass or fail. That is so period and even the owner of The Ribeye down the street from me remembers him. Not since I found out that Fleagal of the Banana Splits lived in Port Townsend have I felt this connected to a town.
I managed to snag a new car player from Sears who I donít scoff at for quality (at least in the 70s) my first player in there was from Sears and was trouble free for years and since then its been one bad player after another that canít handle the constant playing on a road trip. This one is brush aluminum and like the last one sounds great.
I got a Carpenters quad tape in Sequim, a broken 4 track tape of the Byrds, (if you think fixing an 8 track tape is hard try one of these some time) and a few adult bootlegs that are very Rusty Warren like. It seems you could get away with burlesque comedy in the 60s as a woman provided your werenít a knock out, some how sex appeal and comedy doesnít seem together. I guess comedy isnít very sexy even though Iíd love to see a heartthrob get on stage and tell jokes, no wonder Rodney Dangerfield gets no respect.
May 16, 2003
Iíve been hitting a lot of depressed logger towns lately whose economy went dry when that Spotted Owl thing started on Bill Clinton's term. Itís a lot different reading about that when I was shielded in Hawaii from seeing it first hand rather than driving through a town where every freeway exit is occupied with unkempt homeless people with the familiar cardboard signs wanting some sort of handout. The bumper stickers are right, ďExtinction is ForeverĒ and unlike humans owls canít work at McDonalds as an alternative. I may be biased on this point since I own a parrot.
The archetype of this ideal is the town of Aberdeen. That places looks like it should be a 3rd world country with the way the Wal-Mart form the west came over and turned most of the workers into min wage retail workers. Although I have heard ex Nirvana bassist David Groll can be spotted in a local eatery most Sundays. My fav store there is a rundown home that has been converted into a Star Wars Memorabilia shack with the portable CD player playing The Imperial Death March on a loop when you enter. Iíd like to buy the house next door to him and set up an 8 track shop. Geeks are so much fun.
I found one of those hybrid thrifts there where they have new stuff and thrown out things where you can find mattresses still in the plastic for United Furniture Warehouse prices and pounds of Lps next to them that havenít been leafed through in years and bored clerks who sing along to the classic rock station (badly) and chain smoke by the cash register and call you ďhoneyĒ whenever you ask a simple question. 8 track wise I was happy to find a few non conventional tapes and a few from the British Invation of the 60ís like a pair of Hermanís Hermits tapes where the lead singer looks like Austin Powers and The Dave Clark 5 who for the longest time thought was called The Dick Clark 5 after the American Bandstand guy also Gabor Szabor cool jazz and a late Carpenters tape called Voice of The Heart which looks like it came out in Karení s anorexic phase since the cover has her in a baggy sweater and a Dachauesque expression. And for fun I got a lame country tape that is still in the 8 track sleave but this is one of those sleaves that are similar to Cds when they came out in the 80ís. If youíre old enough to remember you could put a tie inside one of these boxes.
May 28, 2003
When I started this journal my free hoster Tripod gave me the choice of either having irritating pop up ads or those less intrusive anchored to the top ones with embarrassing come ons like the latest P-Diddy CD at a discount price. And now it seems now I get the best of both worlds. I may have to rent out space and get in on some of this action.
Is it me or does everyone and his brother have one of these "Blogs"? It's a lot like those early 90s zines that were so popular.
The yard sales have returned and if I could ever get a Sat off I'd be there I got a small taste last week on my way there and found a Readers Digest brand portable player. I like the idea of electronic equip named after magazines and hope that I can find an old Life mag player one day.
June 8, 2003
Olympia set a heat record last week and hit 93 degrees. The only violent break out that I saw was when my landlady kept me and my friends out of the pool since I brought a small mob with me, I almost lost it but held back since she did a secret inspection of my pad here and I found a bill on my table with a battery replacement cost. More to come, I gotta get out of here
Now for the 8 track tie in, I've read a few interviews by those 8 track pioneers and inventors on how they use to test carts in cars in hermetically sealed chambers with the temp up to 300 degrees. I use to use this argument whenever anyone told me that my ELO tapes would turn into mush if I left them in there but today I may have to change my tune since my copy of Lipps Inc with Funkytown on it and the fun period piece A Night at Studio 54 now look like some type of black pretzels. I can live without Funkytown but I sort of miss the other one. I also took out The Clash tape and the Madonna tapes just in case. I may have to force myself to listen to crap like The Osmonds for a while until this heat wave passes. Although their minor hit "Double Lovin" sounds like they're offering a girl a 3 way, which is even sleazier when you consider their squeaky clean image.
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