July 2008

Record Weirdo - Back Alley Bargains

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I saw this sign on Chapman Avenue in Fullerton.


The sign might as well have had my name written on it. After seeing it there for a couple of weeks, I had to stop and check it out. Being a supporter of Do It Yourself economics and underground ascetics, as well as a compulsive music consumer, I simply had no choice.
I followed the signs through the maze of alleys, rang the buzzer, and entered the portal to another dimension. No secret knock or password required.

The proprietor was a woman somewhere in the vicinity of my demographic group that, despite the circumstances, emitted absolutely no record geek or serial killer vibes. The garage was clean, well lit, and the records were well organized. Not only were they catalogued by genre, but alphabetized and alphabetized correctly. In order to peruse the goods, I didn't have to brush away any cobwebs or chickens.

Most of the records were cased in protective plastic sleeves and all were clearly marked with the price. It was suspiciously too well organized. I asked if the records were old store-stock or if she sold at swap meets or record shows. No. She insisted that this was her personal collection. I wasn't quite convinced but that didn't matter. I mentioned that I occasionally sold at the OC Record Show in Buena Park. Her ears perked up at that, but perked back down when I said I wasn't interested in buying her entire inventory.

I got the impression that the garage full of records were acquired as part of a divorce settlement, an inheritance, or maybe a roommate had moved out owing her a lot of money. It was her personal collection, all right, with "personal" being the operative word. I didn't want to pry or make any further assumptions. I will not interrogate anyone in the name of Internet journalism. I just continued to browse in happy, non-threatening silence and tried not to emit any serial killer vibes.

As much as I wanted to find something spectacular, it just wasn't there. There were some interesting records but nothing really notable. There were a few semi-collectable items at inflated prices - someone had taken the numbers in a price guide seriously but ignored the concept of grading (and pricing) by condition. Most of the stuff I saw was mainstream/ progressive/classic rock of the Journey/Rush variety. How much would you pay for a beat up copy of "2112?" Not this much.

Blood, Sweat & Tears, Chicago, Steely Dan - not my cup of joe.

There were some Beatles and Stones items, but they were too beat up and overpriced. My expertise does not extend as much to the Jazz and R&B sections, but it seemed to be the same story.

I had to buy something, of course. I walked away with a couple of novelty records for a couple/few bucks each. "Madcap Musical Nonsense" by the Three Stooges, which is thrashed almost beyond recognition but, hey, it's the Three Stooges so it should be. The other record is The Bearcuts "Swing Beatlemania," one of those Beatle rip-off records from 1964 or 1965. It's not quite as good as "Beatle Beat" by The Buggs, but it might be better than a couple John Lennon solo albums I have.


The last time I drove through those parts, I didn't see the sign. I'd like to think that the venture was a huge success and the proprietor retired comfortably. However, the conspiracy theorist in me says that it was shut down by "The Man."
If records are outlawed, only outlaws will have records.


Simon's Cat

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Because I love these little furry-licious creatures, I am always excited to see a new "Simon's Cat" video. There are currently three on YouTube. Enjoy!

Scruffy Meet Scruffy

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Scruffy Meet Scruffy
Photo taken by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N95.

Sun 07.20.08 - Gratuitous cute dog photo. ;o)


At the Riverside Metropolitan Museum now through September 14th. C'mon, who doesn't love Snoopy?!

Birthday Boots

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I'm not someone who's big on celebrating my birthday - not out of any fear of growing older or anything like that - it's because I simply don't like the attention. A few years ago I figured out that my shyness often extends into annoyance when overwhelmed with attention, which results in people who are otherwise trying to show that they care about me feeling put off. I don't blame them, and figure that it's just better for everyone involved if I just treat my birthday like any other day.

My boss Deanne, however, has a different idea about birthdays, and because I adore her so much, I decided that I was not going to be cranky this year. And she, in turn, completely surprised me with what was quite possibly the Best. Gift. Ever.

I should back up. While in Nashville for the CMA Music Festival this year, my co-worker Trinity and I made the trek up and down Broadway on our first day in Music City. Trinity had never been to Nashville, and was really feeling the pull of all the crappy tourist shops on Lower Broad (a side note: after being in Nashville for the CMA Music Festival for the first time, I have no idea why people would go to this event for fun. It was hot, it was crowded, and after one pal of mine texted me saying she had awful seats, I thought, "Nashville's an awfully long way to go to discover you have crappy seats." Fortunately, I was there for work, not for fun.). It is said that if you travel with someone, you'll really get to know them, and I believe that now. I learned that Trinity is the kind of person who will buy a souvenir for everyone she knows, rather than letting them travel to said place themselves to purchase said souvenir. I spent more time that week in crappy souvenir shops than I've ever spent in them before. I tried not to be cranky.

But then, in one western wear store, I spotted these:

Birthday Boots.jpg

Granted, at the time, they were on a shelf. In a store. On sale. For $250. And while I did not try them on, I did not stop talking about those boots for the entire trip. After all, talking about the boots does not cost any money, and $250 is an awful lot to spend on boots when one is also about to pay for a new truck transmission. So I talked. I'm pretty sure everyone I met in Nashville at some point heard about those pink boots with the brown skull and crossbones.

Finally, on our last day, Trinity, Deanne, and I headed to Broadway for one more last round of souvenir shopping (because, for crying out loud, Trinity still wasn't done yet!), and Deanne asked which store I'd seen the boots in. She thought I should just try them on, and I thought I should not, out of fear that I'd fall in love with them and buy them. We located the store, and I was relieved that they no longer had them in my size. Deanne, however, wrote down the pertinent information, and said we'd look for them online when we got home. I was thinking, "I still have a transmission to pay for, though!"

We returned to Los Angeles, and I forgot about those boots. Meanwhile, the wheels were turning in Deanne's head. She and Trinity located a store online that sold the boots in my size and ordered them, making sure they arrived just before my birthday. The irony is that they had the boots sent to the office, and any packages that arrive for our department usually get sent to my office for me to distribute. I must have been feeling lazy that day, though, because after the package had been sitting in my office for several hours, I still hadn't walked it over to Deanne's office, or even looked at it. So the next morning - the day of my birthday - when I arrived at work and unwrapped the package Deanne had wrapped and left on my desk, I let out the loudest shriek known to man.

Yay for surprises! And for these boots.

Chicks and Sheep

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I originally posted this blog on my MySpace page on May 27th this year, while Barflies was still under construction. Almost two months later it's still something I want people to know about.

A die-hard Dixie Chicks fan, I was a little embarrassed to only recently have stumbled across a blog written during their "Accidents and Accusations" tour (I feel like this was something I should have known about all along - should have been reading as it was happening, not long after the tour had ended). The Chicks had partnered with MSN to hire a blogger to travel with them on the tour and record it from his perspective. Junichi Simitsu is a law professor at the University of San Diego, and someone who liked the Dixie Chicks, but wasn't an uber-fan (at least not at the start of the tour - when he mistakenly thought Emily was the older of the two sisters - I'm sure after spending months on the road with them, he's a total Dixie Chicks nerd now).

I spent a good four hours poring over this blog: Junichi's observations are, for the most part, hilarious, and I laughed out loud at several of them. But one in particular wasn't funny to me at all, the one titled "The Evolution of an Anti-Dixie Chicks Protester." This one brought tears to my eyes.

The image of this woman symbolized for many of us Chicks supporters just how out of control the anti-Chicks sentiment had become in 2003. Reading that she attended this rally not out of conviction, but because someone told her she should go, was very unsettling. It frightens me how easily some people can be persuaded to follow a crowd without really believing in what they are doing.

However, it takes an awful lot of courage to admit you were wrong, and I applaud this woman for her apology and efforts to make things right. I only wish that this article had received the same media attention as "The Incident" that started it all.

And We Are Back!

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Yes, Barflies.net is back with a new backend (Movable Type Open Source) and a refinement of our design.

Sorry for our prolonged absence, but we are a volunteer blog and that includes the services of the webmistress / webdev ...

Doesn't everyone need a good vacation?

The Dash of the Dachshunds!

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Saturday, July 19, 2008 at the Los Alamitos Race Track in Los Alamitos (think border of LA & OC) is the Wiener Nationals...

AKA the Dash of the Dachshunds! Forget the horses! Forget betting! Let's talk cute little dogs runny willy nilly and dashing everywhere but to the finish line.

Best fun you will have for cheap all year!

Sat. July 19th (that's tomorrow)
@ The Los Alamitos Race Track
4961 Katella Ave
Los Alamitos, CA 90720

(714) 995-1234