Sunday, May 27, 2007

Egypt Lane

A venerable song of mine plus also venerable Super-8 footage (casually transferred to video) equals the very homebrew video above.

Includes stop-action animation, time-lapse photography, treated film and such, in color and black & white. Most of the live footage was shot at Eqypt Lane (the song's namesake), a small street in Fairhaven, Massachusetts that leads to Buzzards Bay.

While this video is very much my own mess, I have to tip my hat in appreciation toward the acid movie of my friend Steev (& his compadres in the Mental Hygiene League), the Super-8 films of Kaye Lazar, the Brothers Cobb, the work of Fiat Lux, and the likes of Chris Marker, Stan Brakhage and Andrei Tarkovsky. Numerous others would get the nod, including my wife (who was nice enough to share her painting studio), her grandfather (an 8mm and Super-8 enthusiast in his day) and my camera-wielding brother, Roy.

Also Mark and Clay and Mary, wherever you all are, and Jim Taylor and . . . [being dragged from the podium now]

POSTSCRIPT: The footage of Egypt Lane was shot circa 1997. So anyone from the area could tell you that the Atlas Tack factory with the tall smokestack has since been razed. The stack & most of the building is gone and a bike path now runs by the old lot, across Egypt Lane and eastward to the edge of town. Here's a recent view on video.

On YouTube:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

outstanding in their fields

Moving to the audio portion of our program, here's a snippet of a recording I made of some birds and one somewhat faraway cow.

A couple of days later, in the evening after a drenching downpour flooded my mom's backyard & the surrounding fields, many frogs near & far were serenading anyone who'd listen. In this next recording, there were also fireworks booming from towards the James River (maybe part of the Jamestown 400th Anniversary celebration?) some 10 or 15 miles away. Later on, dogs joins the choir.

Meanwhile, field recordists are picking up cool sounds from all over. Like Quiet American's collection of short soundscapes called one minute vacation.

Monday, May 21, 2007

scenes from VA Rt. 10

Last time I probably saw this old ambulance was when it was still fairly new, being driven in a local parade.

From what little I can tell, it's now up for auction. Sealed bids.

It's a cool old vehicle. Hope it finds a good home and the Surry Volunteer Rescue Squad gets a good bid for it.

Further along Rt. 10 towards Richmond, there's a venerable gas station sign.

Not pictured is the red Union '76 sign on the flip side. (The very cool has a page of these.)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

faraway cows

Okay, sure--these cows do seem kinda close.

But I was alluding to a song my friend Dale Kutyna wrote some years back. It's a slow gliding kind of thing entitled, well, "Faraway Cows". Pretty & mysterious in a majestic way, like these cows.

return of the Cashmere Jungle Lords

Yes, again with the Cashmere Jungle Lords, live at the Strawberry Street Festival in Richmond VA, 12 May 2007.

The band shots above are stills from the video I shot that day.

The numerous front man photos below are not meant to enforce rock 'n' roll hierarchies so much as to:

A. give maximum pics to CJL fans who happen by

B. provide aid & comfort to southpaw guitarists everywhere (Dom, the guy below, is one such)

C. brighten the day of Gretsch guitar fans--right-handed, left-handed or ambidextrous

red 'shrooms at night

Actually, it was more like late afternoon on a cloudy day.

My interest here is more of the "whoa, kewl--take a picture" variety.

A naturalist might know if these gnawed looking mushrooms were dined on by the slugs, a passing mower blade or something else.

(Folks like to bad mouth Wikipedia, but word there is slugs do eat fungus. Your gastropods may vary.)

Criss crossed by clover stems and pine needles, red 'shrooms abide. More of the micro gnome's-eye view:

Young slugs in love--must be spring.

Friday, May 18, 2007

last steak sandwich pt. 2

As per usual, you can't trust my so-called facts. But spell it anyway you want, change comes as a vanishing world makes way.

Pictured above is the Tasty Treat (Tastee Treet?) in Wakefield, VA, now under new management and closed for remodeling.

The new owners may be anxious to remake the old into something fresh yet familiar. A steak sandwich and a milkshake in some cool flavor like butterscotch may yet await future patrons. Or not. I'll have to check by & see next time I'm around.

Today it's a open question.

Everything there is fresh white paint, emptied space, almost nothing old remaining. Nowhere on premises is the funky old neon sign that read "EAT".

And I know that, along with Angelo's Restaurant, the Tastee Freez drive-in in Smithfield is gone. The Tasty Treat drive-in in Surry (no relation to the one in Wakefield) is long long gone, now a pizza parlor with an addition built onto it. The Sammy & Nick's on Mercury Blvd. in Hampton is closed (the marquee says to check out their restaurant in Williamsburg).

I don't live in Hampton Roads anymore or get around enough to know what's what. But if there's no Sammy & Nick's in Williamsburg, I only know of Monty's Penguin on Warwick Blvd. in Newport News to get that fun, simple, tasty steak sandwich.

Not really the stuff of true loss & mourning, it's a subtle touch of it as small familiar things slip away.

Here's hoping the new owners have something old in store for us.

Last steak sandwich . . . pt. 1:

Cashmere Jungle Lords live in Richmond VA

With my trusty digital point-and-shoot, I shot the above video of the Cashmere Jungle Lords performing "Apache" last Saturday, May 12th. An old fan of the band and a college buddy of the front man, I caught their show at the Strawberry Street Festival in the Fan district of Richmond.

Forgive the hand coming into frame--that's me trying to shield the camera from drizzle. It was my first video of a live band (or pretty much anything else). So please enjoy the content if not the form.

UPDATE: for those not so inclined towards video, there are still pictures of the band here:

Thursday, May 17, 2007

last steak sandwich in North America

As always, I'm hazy on the details. Sometime in April, Angelo's closed.

Back in 1976, it opened in Smithfield VA as the Holland Haus and sported decorative windmill blades. That lasted a couple of years. I forget the next incarnation or how long it ran before the restaurant became Angelo's.

My mom and her friends & family ate there often. Her 80th birthday party was held there some years back.

My sister and I both loved the steak sandwich with the big serving of fries. Great fries that I lack words to describe.

Oddly enough, not just those great fries, but a once more widely available, simple but good steak sandwich is fading from view. Places of a certain old school niche--like a Tastee Freez drive-in or 70's vintage Greek-American steak restaurant--served that basic steak sandwich with lettuce & tomato, mayo optional. Places like Angelo's that are slipping away.

Sometimes, you can just make a meal at home. Cook something up just the way you want it.

Sometimes, you want what you want to be waiting somewhere else.

Without Angelo's, and with fewer and fewer places like it kicking around, what may be waiting is the last steak sandwich in N. America.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Alternate title: 'shroom with a view.

This big guy was found growing on a stump yesterday, but I only got around to photographing it today. As most lawns hereabouts have yet to be mowed for the first time, this hearty specimen has grown up fast.

Here are some other mushrooms, also found yesterday growing on another stump. They were already past their prime by the time I returned with a camera.