Sunday, December 24, 2006

Pea Hicks' Poor Music Project


Dunno how current this project is, but the person behind the Optigan site contrived this notion of creating fake homebrew music tapes and planting them in thrift stores. Sounds like a fun idea, if tough to execute.

Kinda reminiscent of Yoko Ono's conceptual pieces. Or my stray notion of Bossy Painting (kind of like commissioning art with ideas, but [ahem] no money).

I modestly propose these titles:

"Xmas at the Ambersons 1973"

"the twins Jake & Janey on their new violins"

"garage door diagnostic pt 2"

"Uncle Paul & Aunt Letitia's hollow pine"

"462 people say hello to Sid, 3 say goodbye"

I'm sure you have your own.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

the bright lights of Xmas

Long before that spate of iPod ads with the trailing lights, all sorts of lights in motion were captured as lines in still photos. With the advent of groovin' digital cameras, even the likes of me can indulge in this sort of painting with light.

Above and below, 'tis the season with Xmas lights shot with a moving camera & a long exposure. Feelings of vertigo notwithstanding, it's artsy holiday fun.

Below is more of the same without the Christmas touch.

And while I'm thinking of it, thanks to all of you folks out there with day-glo wise men, NORAD reindeer, trippy inflatable carousels and other brightly lit holiday cheer in your front yard. In one of the cars cruising past your front yard & perhaps stopping to see what you and Thomas Edison hath wrought, it may be me saying: "Hell, yeah--Merry Christmas!"

Indeed, a Merry Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Ramadan/Solstice to you all and a Happy New Year, too.

aforementioned gnarly mushrooms

Here are those gnarly neighbor 'shrooms I mentioned back in the Tarantula-baum entry. Weird fleshy things I wouldn't want to elaborate about in prose 'cept to say: cool, huh?

This was the fungi of mid-November (unseasonably warm weather). By now the weather's still unseasonably warm but the 'shrooms have since dried up some and been mowed over. But kudos to the neighbor for having the presence of mind not to mow them down back in their prime.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Del Parrott, one swell guy I'll miss (1910-2006)

As he was my wife's grandfather, I respectfully called him Dr. Parrott. But really he was Del to everyone.

I could go on about all the good or impressive things the man did. Like getting a degree in optometry in the dark years of the not-so-Great Depression with scarcely a buck to his name. Or being active in his community as a Rotarian or many other such details. But I'm less a biographer (or fact checker) than an old friend.

Del loved two things that I noticed. Photography and his family. I've got reels of his old home movies--of his brother on leave from the service, his parents, his wife and two daughters, his grandkids, a succession of family dogs--to back this up. It's a fact.

And all of us who knew him will be that much better off 'cause he was around.

Thanks, Del.

Monday, November 27, 2006

extented use of the H'ween inflato-tarantula

Lacking interesting pics of anything save gnarly mushrooms in a neighbor's yard, we switch to text-only mode and my wife reminding me of something I forget ever writing:

Remember when we were going to convert the blowup tarantula into a Christmas decoration?

You wrote:

"Hangers may puncture the great T.-- maybe soft ornaments made like socks. Put them in the dryer and use static cling to affix them:

O Tarantula-baum, O Tarantula-baum,
our Christmas socks adhere on thee
O Tarantula-baum, O Tarantula-baum,
your girth obscures our big TV"

The editor within says maybe it should be "adhere to thee", but I have to agree with my past self that a Tarantula-baum Christmas™ might be the best Christmas ever.

The aforementioned lawn decoration is not ours, but one we drive by so often (while it's up) as to feel somehow entitled. If you have an inflatable tarantula left over from Halloween (and a really big living room), think it over.

And may I suggest: static cling might also work for tinsel and cut-out paper ornaments.

[Beware to spammers who use surreal nonsense to elude email filters. If I find a word of this post in one of your Viagra missives, you'll be found out & ritually fed to our air-filled Yuletide friend.]

Expecting a blow-up Scooby Doo in your crèche,

Friday, November 03, 2006

scenes from the James River, Richmond VA

While at the aforementioned National Folk Festival, I took some stray pictures of the James.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

National Folk Fest in Richmond

Held 13-15 October 2006 on Brown's Island, the National Folk Festival had its second year in Richmond VA (and 68th year overall).

Above are two performers from the group AltaiKai, a bunch of fine folk who twanged and throat sang, made birdsongs and horse whinnies. Pretty my personal faves this year.

Another fave was Mythili Prakash (pictured above) and the Dance of India Ensemble.

The hands above belong to Grace Chang. And the instrument she's goin' to town on is the zheng.

Gourd instruments, gourd hats and gourd masks--the Richmond Indigenous Gourd Orchestra are homegrown and homemade. They played and had hands-on exhibits like the gourd petting zoo and gourd instruments folks could play with.

Next October will be the last of these held in R'mond. If you're in the neighborhood, check it out.

Paragon and Jest

Pics from Richmond VA. These are from the Paragon Pharmacy.

No milkshakes, sad to say, but fountain drinks and BLTs.

Another image from R'mond.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

lacking the treble clef

In my haste (on the tail end of the Walnut Mall pilgrimage), I took this picture of the Melody Inn sign on US 460 in Waverly VA. Anyone from the area and familiar with this sign knows how I goofed up: the roadsigns are obscuring the treble clef symbol to the right of the vertical "MOTEL". Knowing what you're looking for, you can see a slice of it through the roadsigns. (UPDATE: new photo here)

But it's a cool sign and even a half-baked photo of it is worth posting.

I'm from 'round here originally and never had any occasion to stay at the Melody Inn, but I always liked the architecture, those turquoise doors and that cool shade willow tree.

An improbable bit of modernist Shangri-La up against a four-lane highway . . .

in search of Walnut Mall, Petersburg VA

As you can see above, I arrived a little late.

What was Walnut Mall is a future home of Food Lion and, for the time being, a red clay lot.

And since there's already a Food Lion not too south on Rt. 301, I guess that location may soon take a step down in the commercial real estate food chain.

In the meantime, you can currently still find an aerial image of Walnut Mall at Mapquest if you search for a map of Walnut Blvd. Petersburg VA and select the aerial image feature. (UPDATE: thanks to Sickmalls, these exterior & interior shots of the mall from the Virginia Film Office. And at now at Labelscar, mall info plus recently posted 1991 pics of the Thalheimer's there.)

Thankfully, the old movie theatre across the Blvd. from the ex-mall is still standing.

But now it's a church.

Though it may not be the same place where I saw The Goodbye Girl and (some years later) a midnight showing of Bertolucci's Last Tango In Paris, the building doesn't look all that different than it did 25-30 years ago. (UPDATE: An old ticket stub and more besides.)

Here are some other pics of the area, like the nearby Walnut Hill Plaza sign:

I'd never noticed those walnuts before . . .

To make it up to my agéd mom for having driven her way up to some non-existent mall, we went to King's BBQ No. 2.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

intended for a wider audience-corrections

It should be known that this blog (read: the person writing it) is very prone to factual errors. So to save some time overall I would say: take this grain of salt.

However, it's good (esp. online) not to let half-baked info go uncorrected. As all sorts of questionable info gets received and replicated, I'd rather not contribute any more of it if possible.

In "intended" I mentioned the current Macy's at Coliseum Mall may've been a Miller & Rhoades. Anita at the SickMalls blog wrote to say it was likely a Thalheimer's then as the M&R was in Newmarket North/N. Fair.

And that very response probably means the comment I posted there is now up, for what that may be worth.

Perhaps an improved signal-to-noise ratio is forthcoming here at uberkayness.

And if not that, my remembrance of malls past is more of a roadshow than a mission. Once done contributing whatever's relevant to this topic, I will mosey on and leave the sensible folk who really know their stuff to keep it 'tween the ditches.

Kinda spacey then and now,

scenes from Warwick Blvd, Newport News VA

About mid-October, while visiting kin South of the James (I now reside way up nawth in the Land of a Thousand Dunkin' Donuts), I made a pilgrimage to Monty's Penguins on Warwick Blvd in Newport News. Gotta love their shakes and their steak sandwiches. And the above sign.

Other cool pics from about the same stretch of Warwick below . . .

And with apologies to John Barth for the superobvious bit of irony, I seem to recall this was a piano store. But N. News folk would know better than this VA ex-pat.

intended for a wider audience

New to this sort of thing, I thought I had posted the following comment to the SickMalls blog. Not so. So here I go with my remembrance of shopping malls past, specifically the Coliseum Mall in Hampton VA:

I remember the Korvettes. Used to go the music section and window shop mostly ("hmm, cool album cover . . but is it really worth the $7.98"). Big memory there is how I, like many American teens at the time, just passed by the big display brimming over with newly released Never Mind The Bollocks LPs. My reaction was something of a slack-jawed "wha?"

Yep, Korvettes' music dept. was cool (even if I wasn't).

I have mid- to late-80s memories of buying cool cutout cassettes in essentially the same space, but I can't imagine it was Korvettes still (or Wards). Sorry, I don't recall the store.

I forget the record store that was between the Penney's and what's currently Macy's (back then a Miller & Rhodes?). But it was a small, compact store. And another source of mid-80s cutout cassettes. Including a Jonathan Richman solo thing I ended up giving to my nieces and a copy of Lou Reed's Berlin that my boom box made a big show of chewing up in the very first moments of play on my way back home. A grand and harrowing slur of sound, then nothing.

End o' comment.

To check out the Sickmalls post I was responding to:


Friday, October 27, 2006

who & what done start it

It was the Sickmalls blog that I was trying to comment on that brought me here to blogdom. And this specific post I was wanting to comment on:

I dunno the author Anita and haven't been thru whatever passes for good manners online to say "hey, posting about yr blog in mine". But she has pics of old malls and the Krispy Kreme on Mercury, to name a very few of my favorite things. Makes her a cultural hero in my book.

And viewing her documentation of various ancient retail places in SE VA (my old homeland) will be a new leisure activity. Indeed, I think folks are posting to Flickr more of the same, if I understand correctly.

To keep my promise in "if I were a webmaster", I won't go into the why of my slackness, but some day my own OCD images of some groovy VA signage will emerge. (Assuming way cooler pics aren't already out there . . .) Must explore, learn, now.

if I were a webmaster & you were a lady . . .

I think often of a bit from the Simpsons, I forget which episode, where Patti and Selma are conferring on old standby interests that just aren't filling that personal void anymore. As one of the surly sisters mentions the shortwave radio, the radio is in view and some dude on the air says something in Serbo-Croation or whatever that translates as: "I have a ham radio."

That's kinda how I feel about this blog. (And maybe most blogs, but we'll stick to this one.)

To avoid said empty assertions, I will either find content or terminate this blog. If I have the time (big question) and figure how to do what needs to be done (something along the lines of what antenna to use--of which I will avoid any further mention). Just this initial bit of self-consciousness to limit my embarrassment if anyone ever looks at this blog.

As a wise person once told me: careful, this may suck. You've been warned.

as I was not saying

Hello All--

I only created this blog so as to post a comment on another blog--whose name slips my mind, but it's about old/sick/dead shopping malls in the goo'ol' US of A (of which I am a happy, proud, if also skeptical and ironical, citizen).

In the spirit of blogdom (shout it from one of a million million virtual rooftops), I will post it here too, a brief remembrance of the Mercury Mall that once existed on Mercury Blvd in Hampton VA, USA, N. America, Earth. If I recall the blog to which I posted, I'll mention that too for other morbidly sentimental types.

What birthed a blog:

Wm. Blake wisely wrote: "Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead."

But I'm a sentimental old cuss who remembers the old Giant Open Air Market at the Mercury Mall. A vast and otherworldly place where my mom would pick up a dozen of the biggest glazed donuts in history.

And I recall being just small and goofy enough to submit my then nascent cursive handwriting to a computerized handwriting analysis machine that was stationed in the mall, say, circa 1971. I forget the exact results but they were printed on several blue hole-punch cards.

Now we have Bob Evans Restaurant and the Internet, and such ancient miracles are long past.

Thanks for your postings on these dead/sick malls.

End o' comment . . .

All for now,

faint beginnings in the rubble