It's been, oh, at least since the fall when Deerhunter's "Halcyon Digest" was released that I have been SO excited about a new album, which is "Is Growing Faith" by one-man multi-instru-bandi-musicalist Tim Presley, under the moniker White Fence. If you are, LIKE ME, a HUGE fan of low-fi/garage/psych/punk/'60s pop (and by huge I don't mean to comment on your size nor mine, comedians) this album is for YOU YOU YOU. Tim's got it all authentically down, throws in some extra-cool weirdness, and writes some mighty catchy songs to feed your head with.

I heard the track "Sticky Fruitman Has Faith" in my car a couple of days ago on SIRIUS XMU, and went WHOA! COOL! and then scrambled for a scrap of paper to write it down. (Yes, I was parked in a parking lot, for those of you who are safety-conscious like that.) So's I got home and I do the very first thing I always do when I want to hear something from the radio again: try to find it on YouTube. Damn, I went, nope, no video for the track. Bah.

When I listened to the track again this evening, an image came into my mind...a warped crackly 45 on a recond player going round and round. Hmmmmmm. HMMMMMMM. So I did some more YouTube footage foraging, thinking "'60's" and "circles" and decided to make a video for the song. Please to enjoy!

White Fence, "Sticky Fruitman Has Faith"

You may purchase the album by clicking on its title above. Groovy, baby!


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Here are three types of shoppers:

1. Get In & Get Out ASAP: This is the person who just HATES shopping. Shopping is a horrible chore only done when absolutely necessary, and there is no browsing or meandering or overbuying. Go in for what you need, buy it, and flee.

2. Money Burnin' A Hole In Mah Pocket: This is the person who MUST SHOP. Shopping is exciting and satisfying. If there is a dollar in the bank, that dollar will be spent on SOMETHING, no matter if there is need for it or not, like if you are compelled to buy a combination twistee-straw and fork, fake fur fingerless gloves, or a Lil Wayne CD.

3. The Relentless Bargain Hunter: This is the person who loves to shop, but is cheap. Never pays retail for anything, can spend hours sorting through hideous clothes to find one discount designer dress, and never goes to the mall. The thrill of finding something useful at 70% off induces euphoria.

There's no doubt: I am #3. So today I found myself at a new weekends-only flea market in my suburban Seattle burg, housed in an old strip mall that's seen better economic times. I like flea markets mainly because you can get stuff cheap, and sometimes you can find really bizarre and amusing things like strange mechanical toys from Japan, Beavis and Butthead trading cards, and fake fur fingerless gloves. I didn't have a lot of time to spend there, but I was able to make a nice score from a nice woman's stack of LPs that used to belong to her grandparents at a buck each.

You might be surprised what I purchased -- vintage country records, for the most part, which is pretty far from the indie/garage/British Invasion I usually favor. I loathed country music when I was a kid -- thought it was cornball and weird, played by weird cornballs with giant hair in sparkly Western gear. It wasn't really until my friend Kevin started making me cassette mix tapes of old country/rockabilly songs from the 50s/60s that I started dropping my old prejudices and embraced the strange and wonderful qualities of the Hillbilly. And after all, the Beatles' first few records were loaded with covers of rockabilly stuff, so it must be good, right? Plus you very often find some wicked hot guitar players on this stuff, sayin'.

Just the record covers alone would have been worth the cash. Grandpa and Grandma Flea Market Woman took good care of their platters, I'm pleased and not at all surprised to say.

Let's sample.

T. Texas Tyler, "Texas Boogie Woogie"

Hank Snow, "Music Makin' Mama From Memphis"

Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton, "Milwaukee, Here I Come"  (They really mess this up and it's quite charming. Dolly was adorable, eh?)

Hank Williams, "Cold, Cold Heart"

Patsy Montana, "Back On Montana Plains" (wow, this is from 1939!)

Eddy Arnold, "I Walk Alone"

Chet Atkins, "Pickin' The Blues"

And to round out the day's purchase, some eclectic picks, including a one-off acetate from Grandpa Flea Market Woman and some other dude. I'll let you know how that sounds someday.

I really can't think of anyone else I'd rather be listening to on a rainy Saturday hard day's night than Mrs. Miller.

Mrs. Miller, "A Hard Day's Night"


Busy awl day long processing five BILLION photos from last night's SUPERB concert by WAR at Jazz Alley, which I shall post up with a lil' review very soon for the lovely and talented Back Beat Seattle. In the meantime, once again in the murky pixel shadows, I have found another Favorite Fan.

Lordy almighty, go see WAR instead of reading blogs!

WAR, "Low Rider"


There are three very large windows right outside my office (which used to be a dining room before I co-opted it) and I often gaze out, thinking and daydreaming and procrastinating and such. I was performing said gazing a couple of days ago, regarding a pair of crows sitting on the power lines that cross the sky. "Crows," I thought, smartly, "There's some crows, alright." And then I thought, "Hmm. Look at that. It's kinda graphically interesting...hmmm...." and I reached down and snapped a photo with my iPhone:

I can't say enough how much I am enjoying iPhonography, because there are so many cool and cheap apps to process the photos in such amazing ways. Let's look at three ways to change this simple photo with the application Lo-Mob.

I absolutely love the vignetting and soft dreamy blur choosing "Tri-Black Film."

This damaged, deconstructed look is from "6x9 Instant Emulsion."

And this one is "Ho-Mob Reloaded," which pulls hard on saturating the very limited colors from the original print along with strong vignetting and and almost-burnt look.

So's then I thought, "Hey, why don't you take a couple of shots with your trusty Canon G7? It's just sitting right there. Do it." These were processed with CameraBag, which is available for both iPhone and desktop use.

Aw, kissy birds. This used an "Instant" filter, which gives a faded Polaroid look. The washed-out blues and yellows really bring out the clouded-over sun there.

Going straight Pop Art, zoomed in and took advantage of the stark black-and-white elements. This one was processed with "1962." What a great year that was.

Finally, I went and grabbed the Big Camera, the Canon 60D. Using the windows to make a frame, the birds remain blurred in the background, giving it a kind of wistful look. This was processed with CameraBag "Mono."

And then before I could get another shot off, the birds flew away.

I so appreciate the chance to see something in many different ways, using all these apps and cams. It gets your eyes and mind opened up to so many possibilities, even in something as simple as two crows sitting outside your window.


Today, the Internewts brought good things, instead of Nigerian bank scams from the very polite con artist "Mr. Colin Nbwewa" or comments from Russian spambots trying to hotlink sexual performance enhancements. DENIED. What was ACCEPTED, and most gratefully so, was a music performance Garage Band file from the extra-awesome dad-and-son combo of @_punkrawkboy and @Bitter_Hipster (Twitter handles, for the non-Twitterers). Mom @tuned2chords handily facilitated said transfer and served as a most enthusiastic supporter to everyone.

This lovely rockin' family lives in Florida, and I live in Washington, and we all like music and we like to play music and sing music and do musical music things. So it was decided that we would try a little Garage Band combo effort via the magic of binary information transfer. The song I requested was "Fault Line" by our very beloved Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. It's one of my favorites, and I've wanted to cover it since I first heard it, but never got around to it. I was delighted when the guys said they would give it a shot. Here's a lovely live performance by Peter Hayes of BRMC of the song, in case you are unfamiliar with it.

BRMC, "Fault Line"

The last time I did a long-distance musical collaboration it was done on cassette (hissssssssssss) because there were no personal computers. NO, REALLY KIDS, IT'S TRUE! This time, instead of a tape taking a week to get from Arizona to Wisconsin, I had a file that traveled from Florida to Washington in an instant. NICE.

Here's a little bit about how the process went. Dad Punk Rawk Boy and Son Bitter Hipster recorded an acoustic guitar track and an organ track in Garage Band, zipped and shipped to me. I opened, it loaded perfectly into my Garage Band on my Macbook Pro, and I started thinking what I wanted to do, and then I did this:

-- Copied and doubled the guitar track, keeping one close to as is, and one super-loaded with a reverb preset called "Guitars in Space." Panned them L & R, slightly, and tweaked settings.

-- Super-compressed the organ track and then used a preset called "Telephone Wires" to change the sound to more of a melodica. Tweaked. Bitty pan.

-- Got out the midi keyboard, plugged it into the computer and brought up "Drum sets" picking "Hip Hop Kit." Played simple pattern with a bass drum, claps, and a tambourine.

-- Still using the midi keyboard, loaded up "Strings" and then found some atmospheric-y preset and played a simple bottom support line.

-- Time for vocals. Went to bedroom closet in pajamas, got the USB mic, sang the melody line, then sang a harmony line. Ooh oohed at the end. Added reverb.

-- Looked at the harmonica. I don't play harmonica. I don't know how. Frowned. Played with it a little, deciding less-is-more in my case here, and recorded a small harp line for warmth and link to the original.

-- Cut out hissy dead air from any tracks that had it, faded ending to match the fade already on the guitar/organ.

-- Fretted over mix. decided one can only do what one can do. selected "Master Track" preset "Rock Hi-fi Highs and Lows."

-- Finished before the cleaners arrived this morning so I didn't scare them. Sent mixed and MP3'd track off to Florida, and DONE.

That probably sounds like a lot for something that is still low-fi, huh? Thankfully, I like low-fi and we hope you do to. Please to enjoy. We are now called "Tsunami Chat Room," because I always thought that would be a good band name. More than one person counts as a "band," I think.

Tsunami Chat Room, "Fault Line"

  Fault Line by MarianneSp

If you happen to REALLY like it, you can download it for free at Soundcloud there, and all of us thank you for listening!

Today's sky in Florida...

Today's sky in Washington.


MissEight: Do you think the Tooth Fairy is real?

Me: Hmm. Yeah, I think so.

MissEight: Oh, I totally think so too. Who else would do that? Who would want a bunch of old teeth? It makes sense! Do you think Santa is real?

Me: I do.

MissEight: Yeah, for sure he's real. I like Santa. You know who's not real? Jack Frost. And griffins.

Me: Nope.

MissEight: What if Jack Frost and a griffin had a baby? What would it be?

Me: Something with icy wings.

MissEight: Griff...ack? Frostgriff? No! JACKIN!

Me: (makes valiant attempt not to laugh, fails)


(I am walking with MissEight on the school grounds. As I pass a Boy with strawberry-blond hair, who also seems to be about 8 or so, he reaches out and touches my chest briefly. I stop, slightly startled. The Boy looks up at my face rather somberly.)

Boy: Hello.

Me: Hi.

Boy: What does it say on your shirt?

Me: "Pavement is rad." Pavement is a band.

Boy: Oh. That's nice. Bye.

Me: Bye.

Pavement, "Cut Your Hair," The Tonight Show 1994


Parenting, to make the understatement of the ever, is a complicated venture. There are umpti-squillion books about how to be a better parent, how to raise a better child, how to take an unknown lump of baby human and form him or her into the superior. This is a profound change from the days when you had kids (whether you wanted to or not), and they were mainly expected to do and be as the parents, period. The last 20-30 years or so have brought a steadily-increasing focus on “hyper-parenting,” at least in American culture. Asian cultures have traditionally put tremendous importance on their children doing whatever it takes to succeed, with methods that can seem harsh or even abusive to Americans. Yet…these extremes often achieve their goals.

You know you’ve got some controversy brewing when you write an article based on your new book that makes intense American “Helicopter Parents” seem like weak, inefficient slackers. Amy Chua, an author and professor at Yale, parent of two teens, and a woman of Chinese descent, is being raked through the media coals for “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” published in the Wall Street Journal. It’s written to be provocative , thereby generating interest in Chua’s 3rd book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” which has worked spectacularly – it’s now a best seller. For us “housecat moms,” it’s a cringe-inducing read. Everything the umpti-squillion books have taught us, everything an enlightened, responsible, compassionate modern parent is supposed to be, Chua turns on end. As she details, her daughters had zero choice on what they were going to do, how they were going to do it, and any rebellion was met with shaming and name-calling and threats of destroying beloved toys. There was no TV, no computer games, no fluffy extra-curriculars, and no playdates. Chua’s plain talk and honesty here is jarring, yet intriguing. It’s like looking into a diamond mine. There are some pretty impressive and beautiful things down there, but the effort and the danger and the misery it takes to mine them out is scary.

Scary to me, that is. To others, Chua is on point, and her daughters seem to be very accomplished and happy young ladies. The thing is, I’ve had my run at being Tiger Mom, or at least maybe Bobcat Mom. I’ve not been as rigid by any means, but have I demanded excellence? Yes. Have I yelled and threatened and screamed over homework? Yup. Have I chosen activities because I thought they were important and not because my kid was really interested? I have indeed. But no more. I’m a Housecat Mom: not as useless and wimpy as Kitten Mom, but I just don’t have it in me anymore after 19 years on the job to tornado my way through the house for the potential benefit of my three very different children.

Why? Well, a few reasons. I’ve known a whole lot of moms over the years, from public and private schools, from those on public assistance to billionaires. I’ve seen almost all fall into hyper-parenting, by choice or simple peer pressure. I’ve seen the “second shift” day in and day out, where harried mothers are pushing their kids into minivans or SUVs and rushing them off to soccer or piano or horseback lessons or math tutoring. And I’ve seen so many stone-faced children, joylessly competing, disconnected, exhausted. I’ve seen the same kids as teenagers, fed up and burnt-out, hating the music or the sports they were forced to do. Kids so completely freaked out about getting into a “good” college that it essentially ruins their last years of high school. Kids that have no sense of competency because someone has always made their choices for them. Kids that can’t do anything else but fail in order to assert their independence. Kids who binge out on drugs on the weekends just to relieve the vise-grip their weekdays have on them. Over and over and over I have seen this, the children who aren’t really children, but something…else. They don’t even know who they are, or how to even begin to find out.

Another reason I’m done with Tigering is purely because of the nasty effect it has on me. Forget the kids for a moment, shall we? I didn’t become a parent to be Homework Nazi! I too am burnt beyond burnt and sick of yelling and cajoling and nudging and reminding. I’m sick of my blood pressure going to volcano levels, sick of the precious few hours – and years! – I have with my children while they ARE children to be destroyed, trashed out in tears and anger and frustration on all ends. I deserve a peaceful and enjoyable home with my children. And that doesn’t make me a crappy parent, either.

I can provide my kids with almost anything; almost any opportunity they could ask for, by god, I would find a way to get it for them. But I can’t provide them with the foresight, motivation, and common sense it takes sometimes to make better choices – they have to actually experience consequences and earned successes and defaulted failures by themselves via their own actions, not from some puppet master. My message to them is repeated and utterly consistent: do your best now, and it will earn you more choices in life in the future. But you know what? I’m not going to sacrifice my life for it. Sorry, spawn. I’ll do almost anything for you except become some bitter harridan wondering what the hell I had kids for. I like life too much for that, and I don’t want you to remember me that way when I am gone.

So be it. The cubs of the Tiger Mom may very likely get the best meat of the kill, and Housecat Mom’s kittens may have to live off the decaying scraps. But maybe not. It really does come down to the individual temperament, as much as Chua and mothers like her would argue it. No matter the parent, no matter the circumstances, people who want to do well in life usually do; people who are less invested in “the best” settle and live with it. I don’t have a crystal ball, and neither does Amy Chua – only time will tell how our respective children turn out. Tiger Mom is a tough talker and a hard taskmaster, but I think I have a toughness that is far harder to deal with. I have to be tough enough to say “no more” to the sickening grind of hyper-parenting, and strong enough to be able to let my children make their own choices, and take some heartbreaking falls. I have to be tough enough to give myself a break, and stand tall even if my children do things that embarrass or depress me. For all that Chua does to ensure her children’s fine place in the world, she wraps them in a cocoon of unreality. When failure comes to her children – and of course it will – it may hit them with far more severity.

There are so many ways to show our love, and none that seem to be perfect. Complicated, indeed.


Love these kids from Seattle's School of Rock, playing very decent versions of the Smiths' "How Soon Is Now?" and the Cure's "Why Can't I Be You" onstage at the Crocodile. Awesome.


And...MissEight decided she was in on the whole poem thing today, too.


Drain, drain go away
Don't come back another day
I'm tired and sleepy and cranky as hell
So all you readers get is this photo and poem --- oh, well.


The Day In Music began somewhere in the 5AM hour -- a particular cruelty on a Saturday morning -- when MissEight came into my bedroom to give me her freshly-drawn pictures. It's sort of hard to stay mad when you are looking at this.

Nice people often pass on interesting music to me, which I greatly appreciate. There's so much out there, you can and do miss a lot. So I thank WN and Rob for the vids. Let us begin quietly, with a live string quartet cover of Jimi Hendrix's version of "Hey Joe."

Turtle Island Quartet, "Hey Joe"

I'm digging this new song by English artist PJ Harvey. It's very strange -- loping, tremulous, quoting an Eddie Cochran song -- nothing but good to my ears.

PJ Harvey, "The Words That Maketh Murder"

I collect songs with my name in the title. There's quite a few. Here's another one from a South Florida punkpop band from 1979, and it's even spelled correctly, HOO HAH!

The Reactions, "Marianne"

(Speaking of Marianne, which is me, you can now see my song/video of "Winnebago Man We Love You" on the "Winnebago Man" official film site! F$&K YEAH!)

Let us end with a few very enjoyable videos of people in Alabama (the state, not the band) giving a good go at some karaoke. There for complete tunelessness and 12 beers, go us all.

"100 Dolla Bills Y'all"

"Brown Eyed Girl"

"Very Drunk Girl"


CouchTeen: So, your daughter got into trouble at school for getting her classmates to watch her while she made fun of Justin Bieber videos on her iPod, while wearing a Led Zeppelin t-shirt, and then saying that "a man said it was OK." I hope the beauty of this is not lost on her teachers.


~ring ring~

Me: Hello?

CouchTeen: Uh, Mom?

Me: Well, yeah.

CouchTeen: Do you want to meet me for lunch downtown? I'm just about ready to catch the bus from school.

Me: (pausing) Hmmm...well, I'd have to get showered and all. (another pause) Yeah, alright. I'll text you when I leave the house.

CouchTeen: Aiight.


Generally, I do not ever want to turn down a lunch invitation, even though it is dead certain that I would be picking up the check here. But I've been coughing with this nasty sinus thingy for like a month now, and look like someone who's been coughing for a month: tired, draggy, and probably germy. I'd rather hang at home in my pajamas and sloth out until I have to drive to pick up Thing 2 and Thing 3 from school. But...your teen son wants to hang out with you for an hour over a nice warm meal at the Pancake go.

The Mother and Child Reunion took place in the parking lot by the Pancake House, where CouchTeen threw his backpack, wet from the rain, into my car and lamented the fact that he was very cold. As his mother I was duty-bound to point out these facts: that he was not wearing a jacket; that it was winter; that it was raining, and; that these things combine to make one uncomfortable.

"Mmmph," he grunted in reply.

We settled into a booth in the restaurant. I lamented the fact that I was having trouble reading the menu because of glasses inadequacy.

"Ha ha -- you're old." CouchTeech grinned evilly.

"Ah, you shut up," I snarked back.

Hot tea with lemon for CoughMom, ice water for CouchTeen.

We discussed the weekend plans and a conflict in our schedules Saturday night, which will probably end up with me staying home and CouchTeen not staying home. Bah. We talked about the Coachella line-up this year -- he would like to go, I thought I wouldn't mind skipping it since I have recently seen just about all of the bands I really wanted to see on the schedule already. I reminded him that a trip to Indio for him was a conflict in his college skool schedule and bank account reality.

"Bah," he snorted, and then brought up this very amusing fake Coachella line-up poster on my iPhone. I laughed quite a bit.

Shenanigans with a lemon.

Me: Would you wear, out of the house, a pair of gold MC Hammer pants?

CouchTeen: (thinks) Yes. Not at school. But sure, why not?

Me: I mean, not yellow. GOLD. Shiny GOLD.

CouchTeen: I'd do it.

Me: I'm gonna find some.

CouchTeen: Aiight.

Our food arrived: Sourdough French Toast for him, and a poached egg, bacon, and pancakes for me. He scarfed his up, then started picking at my pancakes and I threatened to poke him with my fork. Hard.

Time to go. Check paid, out the door, back into the rain. Math test tomorrow for CouchTeen, doctor appointment for CoughMom, but a nice hour spent together today.


After much hemming, hawing, debating, researching, and daydreaming it has been decided that we shall be going to HAWAII for vacation this year. The kids are stoked, as am I; I have been to Hawaii only once before, and that was in May of 1983. I went with a Wisconsin school pal on some package deal which was a flight from Chicago and 2 weeks hotel for like $530. I pulled some of the photos out today from that trip.

Here is my friend in front of our rather skanky Waikiki hotel. Who cares if it's skanky? I'm 21 and in HAWAII! I learned to disregard the scrambling huge cockroaches in the bathroom, even.

Here's the view from the Punchbowl. I have kind of a feeling it's a bit more built-up now.

Waikiki Beach. What I recall: super-crowded, windy, lots of giant GIANT fat ladies in straining swimsuits, and that my eyes stung like hell from the salt water. None of this impeded my good time.

Is Don Ho dead? He must be dead now. I had to salute him properly there.

What do you do when you are 21, in a skanky hotel, and feeling like being all GANGSTA? Well, if you were me, you just hang the hotel art work upside-down and bet (correctly) that the housekeepers never notice.

We spent more time at Skank Pool rather than the beach. Isn't it lovely? It didn't matter. I was thrilled to be in the sun by a pool, anywhere.

In the "What Was I Thinking??" Department, I wore a shirt. Just a shirt. It was only about 5 inches longer than the bottom of my cool belt there. This won't be occurring again, and yes, I hear your collective and massive sigh of relief there.

Meet Troy and Chad, the toy dolphins. Troy came home with me, and I believe he survived another 15 or so years until one of my DAMN KIDS broke him. Let us now bow our heads for a moment in his honor.

At the beginning of the trip, I was the thinnest and tannest and fittest I had ever been in my life. I do regret the bandanna here.

However...after two weeks of sloth in the sun, drinking fruity drinks and eating copious amounts of delicious ice cream and tuna sushi, I put on like 10 pounds and was relegated to posing next to Elvis' old Mercedes in a futile attempt to look smaller.

So this time, in 2011, I am definitely not 21 years old, but that don't bother me none, nope, no way. I'm gonna wear shorts with my shirt. I'm gonna try to find Troy II. I'm gonna have fruity drinks and ice cream and tuna sushi, in moderation. I'm gonna have the huge pleasure of watching my kids have a blast. I'm gonna sit at a really damn nice pool at a really damn nice resort far from crowded Waikiki -- for nine days, not fourteen -- and soak up the sun gratefully. I'm gonna call my mother and thank her again for giving us the 100K Delta air miles so we could do this, and wish that she were there with us.

I'm going to try to hang some artwork upside-down, but I bet you anything MissEight won't stand for it.

The Kinks, "Holiday In Waikiki"

I won a competition in a little column in my local paper.
So I packed my bags and flew across the sea all on my local paper.
I sailed to Hawaii in the U.S.A.
I'm just an English boy who won a holiday in Waikiki.

I didn't realize it was commercialized when I unpacked my cases,
Because a genuine Hawaii ukulele cost me 30 guineas,
And even when I'm swimming I have to pay.
I'm just an English boy who won a holiday in Waikiki.
Oh yeah, yeah.

Across the coral sands I saw a hula hula dancer, looking pretty.
I asked her where she came from and she said to me,
"I come from New York City,
And my mother is Italian,
And my dad's a Greek."
I'm just an English boy who won a holiday in Waikiki.

It's a hooka hooka on the shiny briny on the way to Kona
And in a little shack they had a little sign that said Coca Cola,
And even all the grass skirts were PVC.
I'm just an English boy who won a holiday in Waikiki.
Oh yeah, yeah.

In Waikiki
In Waikiki


Apparently there's been an update to MissEight's cookbook:

"pent Butter Delux"

1. 2 cups of pent Butter and 3 scopes of whatever ciend of ice cream.

and eat!



These were found underneath CouchTeen's bedroom door this morning. The Art Fairy striketh.


Whatever language you speak, I believe everyone can enjoy this live music video just the same. Let's hold hands and sing along.

戸川純 パンク蛹化の女


"Oh, why don't you two go fly a kite!" I exclaimed to the bickering siblings.

And so they did.