Monday, August 19, 2013

#708: A birthday present

I'm on vacation. And I turn 54 on Wednesday.
To celebrate, I'm trying to write a novel. Again. While I still have time.
I'm trying to take my three years of experiences working in a record store back in 1979-81 and turn them into something like a book. I think there's sort of a story there, and Ghod knows there's some Characters, who I knew well.
If this goes according to plan, the novel will use a lot of the record store stuff I've posted here and add a lot more, in more depth, trying to make things as clear and detailed and funny as I can. Or at least get the details and the feel of that time down right, while I can still remember them.
The story will also use other things that were going on in my life at the same time, some of which I've also posted here -- that "8-by-40-foot trailer" post from awhile back, for example. (Old friends, consider yourselves warned!)
Remembering this stuff hasn't been a problem, so far. More new stuff just seems to bubble up the longer I think about it.
I've only had parts of three days to work on it, but so far I've bashed-out a 4,000-word narrative to kick things off, and I've tossed in another 2,000+ words of notes and pieces, plus there's some more notes I haven't even bashed into the laptop yet. That's more than 10 single-spaced typed pages, so far. I'll be bashing away on it during my next 9 days off, and maybe by the end of this break I'll have gotten Somewhere. I'll keep you posted.
The only problem I see will be getting out of MY head and into the heads of my characters, getting across things in their voices, describing what I assume they must have been thinking.
Oh, there will also be a PLAYLIST, naturally....
Don't know if this'll work, don't know if it'll sell, don't know if anyone would care -- I don't even care. I know I need to write SOMETHING, while I've still got time, and this stuff seems to be pouring out. I've told the Girlfriend repeatedly that I'd be a happy man if I could just get going on some big writing project ... and now it seems like I've got one.
I haven't bashed-out this much material this quickly in 10 years -- ever since I tried to take all my closest friends from my post-highschool going-nowhere years and turn them into a fictional rock&roll band. I got more than 20 handwritten pages into that before the story stopped.
And now I'm writing about the same period again. The Good Olde Days.
The funny thing to me is, I've had this material for over 30 years and I never even THOUGHT about fictionalizing it until I read Brian Aldiss's THE BRIGHTFOUNT DIARIES (see review below), about working in a bookstore. And even though Not Much happened in Aldiss's novel ... Well, hell, I can write a book where Not Much happens, too....
I might even post some new stuff from the project here, if something new jumps out at me as worth it.
Right now I'm calling the novel project GUARANTEED GREAT MUSIC!, though I've also thought over RECORD STORE DAZE. But mainly I just want to get some serious wordage down, and that hasn't been a problem yet.
If I can't make this one work, I might as well give the whole "novelist" dream up and just keep blogging 'til I keel over. And I'm not planning on going anywhere.
I'll still be posting here, during this -- probably as compulsively as ever. I have some new music-related books in the house that I've barely cracked open: Music critic Bob Palmer's BLUES AND CHAOS, & Jim DeRogatis's rock-crit-revisionist KILL YOUR IDOLS. I'm also a couple chapters into Brian Aldiss's writing memoir BURY MY HEART AT W.H. SMITH'S, which looks at least as charming as BRIGHTFOUNT DIARIES was.
And at some point, Kevin Ayers's BEST OF is supposed to come floating leisurely in from the U.K. ....
I'll also be working my way backward, "re-writing" old posts into Real English when I get bored -- King Crimson (post #666) is next up to be "translated."
These have been good days lately, and I know it. I'm broke but I'm happy. I even got out to The Beach last Monday, for the first time in 10 years.
And now, hopefully, I have a week and a half off to Get Some Work Done. I'll keep you posted.
More soon....

P.S. -- Passed 10,000 words written as of late Monday night. This might actually work....
P.P.S. -- Passed 15,000 words as of late Tuesday night, and am still thinking of more details to toss in. Don't want to jinx it, but I'm wondering when this is going to start to feel like "work" ... though I'm sure that time will come along soon enough....

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

#707: The other music mags

Back in the day, when ROLLING STONE got too boring or stuck-up, there was always TROUSER PRESS and MUSICIAN to fall back on.
TROUSER PRESS was home for just about anything British, New Wave, or Overlooked. Where else were you gonna find reviews of the newest Caravan album? (Nowhere!) Where else were you gonna learn that National Health was touring America? (Absolutely nowhere!)
At the time I didn't have much use for TP's coverage of Elvis Costello or The Ramones, but TP also ran great in-depth features like The 100 Greatest Rock Guitarists Of All Time (which gave me a renewed appreciation for Al Stewart's lead guitarist Tim Renwick, among others), & 70 Great Lost Rock Albums From The '70s (with wild forgotten stuff like World War 3 and Crabby Appleton and Michael Fennelly, and....)
They also had reviews of hard-to-get import albums, & even singles. They had a small stable of good writers like editor Ira Robbins and Scott Isler and Jim Green and....
The whole magazine was written and put-together with the kind of fanaticism and attention to detail that only real hard-core music fans (who were likely underpaid or unpaid) could bring to the job. It seemed like they did it all out of love.
And just as they were getting really good ... they vanished, sometime in the early '80s.
Some of the magazine's spirit has been carried on in Ira Robbins' TROUSER PRESS RECORD GUIDE, a huge volume of reviews that covers not only New Wave/Punk Rock stuff, but also harder-to-classify acts like Roxy Music, Sparks, The Residents, Can, Hawkwind and lots more. I still don't think I've made it all the way through the RECORD GUIDE, even after all these years. But Trouser Press also has a website where most of the RECORD GUIDE's reviews are carried and updated (at That's where you can learn that Hawkwind has released something like 85 albums over the years....
The website's not the same as the old magazine, of course, but what is?
While TROUSER PRESS was fading away, MUSICIAN was coming on the scene, & for about 10 years I thought it was the very best music mag around. MUSICIAN started out being completely devoted to jazz ... but it slowly expanded into covering more popular artists -- first Miles Davis, then Steely Dan, then long pieces on Dire Straits and Roxy Music and the Dixie Dregs, with an occasional look back over their shoulder at John Coltrane....
There were always tons of album reviews and some GREAT interviews -- moments like when Steely Dan admitted they stole the tune for their great "Gaucho" from Keith Jarrett's "As Long As You Know You're Living Yours." ...Or when Sting finally admitted that maybe the other guys in The Police deserved just a little bit of credit, too....
All this good content took a ton of great writers -- people like the hilarious Charles M. Young, the great Vic Garbarini, Matt Resnicoff, Chip Stern, Rafi Zabor, Dave DiMartino, Jill Blardinelli, the late Lester Bangs, King Crimson's Robert Fripp, and many more.
When King Crimson hit the comeback trail in 1980, Fripp published his journals about the experience in MUSICIAN (& I would LOVE to see Fripp's journals published in book-form someday). Lester Bangs did a hilarious overview of The State Of Rock as 1980 dawned -- it was called "Rock in the '70s: Where Was It?" ("Synthesizers all over the place! Disco, you trashy thing!") Bangs included a list of The Most Depressing Music Of The '70s -- Miles Davis's GET UP WITH IT and ON THE CORNER were right up there....
Rafi Zabor published the first section of his long and wooly jazz novel THE BEAR COMES HOME in MUSICIAN, then stayed around to write reviews. Chip Stern wrote short, savage, hilarious jazz reviews that showed ABSOLUTELY NO PATIENCE for the frothy lite-jazz that started taking over the spotlight in the '70s and '80s. Charles M. Young once published a long hilarious review covering all the albums he received in the mail in ONE DAY....
MUSICIAN only got better as it turned into the '90s. Features covered everyone from Van Halen to Sinead O'Connor to The Replacements to Laurie Anderson. Dave DiMartino looked over a dozen Can albums in one review and called them The Most Overlooked And Ripped-Off Band In Rock History.
Somewhere in the middle of moving from Turkey back to the U.S., I lost track of MUSICIAN. Then I spent six years in Wyoming, which was almost as isolated as Turkey. The next time I saw a copy of MUSICIAN on the newsstand in 1998, it was a shadow of its old self. All the old writers were gone, and the mag had become a thin, technical, equipment-obsessed mag for Working Musicians. I don't know if it's even still in business.
But I sure miss the old mag....
I didn't have much use for the other music mags. Though CRAWDADDY/FEATURE ran some good stuff, it died early, before I could really appreciate it -- and about 3 months into my subscription. I always thought CREEM was just a little too silly -- which maybe shows I wasn't in tune with their party-hearty lifestyle. HIGH FIDELITY and PHONOGRAPH RECORD sometimes ran some good stuff -- HF had good, long CD-overviews of the Beatles & Stones, King Crimson, Frank Zappa & Todd Rundgren, plus a GREAT piece on Musical Guilty Pleasures. But their reviewers sometimes seemed kind of artificial and stuck-up.
And none of them matched MUSICIAN and TROUSER PRESS at their best. I'd do almost anything to get a complete run of both back in my hands -- especially TP. I miss those old mags. I miss those DAYS....

Monday, August 12, 2013

#706: The right time

I've had Booker T and the MG's "Time is Tight" stuck in my head ever since I heard it for the first time in years on SOUND OPINIONS over a week ago. Can't shake it.
With work and road trips and waking up at home, here's some of what else I've been listening to lately:

Guess Who -- Rain Dance, Albert Flasher.
Move -- Message From the Country, Do Ya?, Tonight, Chinatown.
Jam -- That's Entertainment, Funeral Pyre, Strange Town, Down in the Tube Station at Midnight.
Hatfield and the North -- THE ROTTERS CLUB: Share It, Lounging There Trying, Big John Wayne Socks Psychology on the Jaw, Chaos at the Greasy Spoon, The Yes No Interlude, Fitter Stoke Has a Bath, Didn't Matter Anyway, Underdub, Mumps: Your Majesty is Like a Cream Donut (quiet)/Lumps/Prenut/Your Majesty is Like a Cream Donut (loud), Big John Wayne (live), Chaos at the Greasy Spoon (live), Halfway Between Heaven and Earth (live), Oh Len's Nature (live), Lying and Gracing (live).
Cat Power -- He War, Speak for Me.
Kirsty MacColl -- Free World.
Church -- Reptile.
Keane -- Somewhere Only We Know, This is the Last Time, Bend and Break, Your Eyes Open.
Pete Townshend -- A Little is Enough, Sheraton Gibson, Now and Then, Slit Skirts, Let's See Action, Empty Glass.
Todd Rundgren -- We Gotta Get You a Woman, I Saw the Light, Hello It's Me, Couldn't I Just Tell You?, Just One Victory, A Dream Goes on Forever, Real Man.
Journey -- Lights, Feeling That Way/Anytime, Patiently, Something to Hide.

Most of this is the same old stuff, though I hadn't heard "Albert Flasher" in over 40 years. The lyrics are REALLY silly -- proving again that it sometimes isn't what's said in a song so much as the way it's said & the rhythm and music that goes with it.
THE ROTTERS CLUB was Hatfield and the North's second album, from 1975 -- and I remember being disappointed with these guys Back When because they weren't as instantly-melodic as Caravan. Their (First Album) struck me as too complicated, with the continuous, intertwining side-long suites being a little short on memorable tunes. OK background music, but nothing to devote your life to.
I grabbed a cheap CD copy of ROTTERS CLUB a couple years ago & thought it was above-average at the time, but again nothing earthshaking.
Maybe it was just waiting for the right time to be heard.
Waking up last Friday morning alone in my own bed after running my ass off pricing & stocking a beer order at work the night before, out of the blue I put ROTTERS CLUB on while waking up. And overall it's really good waking-up music, light and melodic. It's always good to hear Richard Sinclair's singing, & the band's loopy non-sequiter lyrics keep things nice and silly.
There's some nice flute from Jimmy Hastings on "Didn't Matter Anyway" -- it could almost be Caravan. I've always thought "Fitter Stoke Has a Bath" was faintly sad -- there's an air of disappointment about it. "The Yes No Interlude" is sort of chaotic commuting music.
The rest of the album features Dave Stewart's sometimes-atonal organ, here toned-down a bit (maybe I'm getting used to it), Phil Miller's sometimes-jagged guitar (also muted a bit), & the lighter-than-air backing vocals from the Northettes. The best of this stuff sounds closer to National Health (which the Hatfields sort of morphed into), with their trademarked sound of the organ and guitar figures overlaid by the Northettes' airy vocals.
The big attraction here is "Mumps," the Hatfields' magnum opus, which winds through more than 20 minutes of subtle interplay, and it's worth it. The closing "Cream Donut (loud)" repeats the distinctive organ-led melody from the opening, though with more energy, and it's great to hear it again after the preceding 20 minutes -- even though this reprise doesn't go on long enough. Parts of this almost sound like Renaissance, no putdown intended.
The live tracks are a slightly different story: Hatfield live could apparently be a real monster, swinging with almost-Caravan-style riffing. Good stuff.
Of the other above tunes, I catch more and more of The Jam's "Down in the Tube Station at Midnight" with each listening. It was clear from the first time through why Paul Weller didn't want to go down there, but more details keep popping out at me with each listen.
I think Cat Power's "He War" is really great, but it's over with too quick, & I wish something else from her YOU ARE FREE album was as compelling. "Speak for Me" is close, but after that it's a big drop off....

...Hey, one of our Regulars at the gas station walked in a few nights ago wearing an Island Records 45 T-shirt. At first I didn't realize what I was looking at. Then when the lightbulb went on over my head, I about fell off the counter!
The shirt showed an old vinyl single with the green-and-white palm-tree design of the record company's logo, and was actually a sales pitch for Island's reggae artists. There were name-checks for Bob Marley and the Wailers, Toots and the Maytals, Lee "Scratch" Perry, and half a dozen more. A very cool fashion item, and probably a collector's item to boot.
The wearer said he was a sucker for the reggae stuff, and we kicked around that Island was very much the place to be for British artists in the late '60s and early '70s ... although the only other folks on the label that we could think of right then were all white Brits (Fairport Convention, Cat Stevens, Spooky Tooth, Free, Nick Drake, Richard Thompson, etc).
Probably the first time I've admired someone else's T-shirt in a LONG time....

Sunday, August 11, 2013

#705: Are you being served?

Haven't read much by Brian Aldiss. He was a pretty big deal in the British science-fiction "New Wave" of the mid-1960s, and his SF history BILLION YEAR SPREE (1973) was one of the books that kept me addicted to SF -- its long in-depth discussions of key novels in the genre gave me a long list of new stuff to read. (His updated history with David Wingrove, TRILLION YEAR SPREE, is pretty brilliant too, & updates SF's story into the mid-'80s.)
Beyond that, not much. "Poor Little Warrior" is a great little story that tells me something new each time I re-read it. Probably couldn't have grasped the subtle hints about Marriage Problems & how that motivated the time-traveling Hunter if I'd first read it as a teenager. Wasn't able to get into Aldiss's HOTHOUSE series.
But Aldiss's THE BRIGHTFOUNT DIARIES (1955) isn't science-fiction. His first book, it's a cute, quaint, short little novel about working in an English bookstore in the early '50s. Aldiss worked in an Oxford bookstore for awhile, so I trust some of it's autobiographical.
Not a whole lot happens. A man named Peter in his early 20's -- who's last name just happens to be Aldiss! -- works into his fourth year at the Brightfount bookshop. He moves out of his Aunt and Uncle's house & into his own apartment, & starts looking for "a suitable girl." The rest of the book describes his co-workers, average days in the shop, & the minor crises they face.
There's even a mystery: Peter's Aunt & Uncle are Not What They Seem. But which one is slowly going nuts?
By the end of the book, Peter hopes to someday earn a Decent Living Wage at the bookstore, the relatives' crisis is seemingly resolved, Peter seems to have found a girl to stay with (after sort-of falling in love 3 times in 170 pages -- the book covers 6 months of his life), & life goes on. No major crises, just a normal, quiet sort of life.
The atmosphere in the bookshop reminded me very much of the British comedy series ARE YOU BEING SERVED? -- eccentric, sometimes-grumpy shop assistants ... a certain pressure for the juniors to "know their place," etc. After 4 years on the job, shop-owner Mr. Brightfount tells Peter "We might make something of you yet!"
The characterizations are perhaps a bit thin, as you'd expect from a diary -- & parts of the entries are written in a kind of shorthand as people do when writing only for themselves. Women especially are rather skimped on characterization, except for Peter's Aunt & his sister-in-law.
One woman co-worker (who isn't much more than a name in the story) is repeatedly referred to as "our stupid office wench" -- I kept waiting for Aldiss to have her do something truly surprising to shock everyone, but this never happened. Normally I'd expect this kind of repeated emphasis to be used to make a point, but it didn't happen here -- a mistake I trust Aldiss wouldn't make later in his career. (Either that or he was grinding an axe against someone named "Edith.")
Even though not much "dramatic" happens, this is the first novel I've been able to get through in a year. I trust that's because Aldiss keeps it light and funny, even charming, all the way through. I'd always wondered what it would be like to work in a bookstore -- now I know, sort of. All the details are well-observed, and the story's clear.
It also got me thinking that maybe I should try to turn my record-store experiences into a novel. Ghod knows I've got the material....
(Coming soon: A review of Aldiss's BURY MY HEART AT W.H. SMITH'S, a memoir of his life as a writer....)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

#704: This is the modern world

The Jam's epic future-Britain concept album SETTING SONS came out in 1979, just after I started working at the record store.
At first I hated it. It was so alien to me. I couldn't cut through the thick accents, and the choppy guitars, gritty subject-matter & back-to-basics musical approach was miles away from the arty progressive-rock I was mostly listening to at the time.
But then I realized there was a story being told here, and that helped. And though the details of that story painted a grim & depressing picture of England as I'm sure it was then -- when the only future possibilities for young people must have seemed limited to either going On The Dole or Joining The Army -- the overall effect was intense and powerful.
The album ended up being a series of brutal life lessons: Employers will work you hard until you can't work any more, the Army's just an excuse for getting killed, governments & politicians are all useless, even best friends will let you down. Jam leader/songwriter/guitarist Paul Weller didn't even offer playing in a rock&roll band as a way out of the mess.
SETTING SONS now works as an equally clear, brutal picture of life as it is in the U.S. today -- and as it has been for at least the last five years
I got used to the second side first. The rather lightweight side-opener "Girl on the Phone" didn't exactly help. But the rapid-fire guitar&drums intro to "Strange Town" would've woke anyone up. And the story -- about being a stranger in a whole new place & the adjustments you have to make -- would be easy for anyone to relate to.
And then came the kicker, as Weller explained (if I'm cutting through his accent accurately): "They all ignore me, 'cause they don't know/I'm really a spacer from those UFO's...." If this translation isn't right, it should be -- it sure gets the point across. Talk about being alienated....
This eye-opener led into what I consider the heart of the album, the next three songs: "Thick as Thieves" is a winding tale about lifelong friends who eventually go their separate ways due to forces they can't control -- but there's a sort of wistfulness & nostalgia in Weller's vocal, & the dramatic & driving intertwining vocals in the last verse are a knockout.
Now that they had my attention, the grim "Private Hell" was the first of these songs to really grab me by the throat. A sort of "generation-gap" song, a bitter portrait of a parent for whom all the joy has gone out of life -- the ending is about as grim & powerful as this album gets. Unforgettable.
"Little Boy Soldiers" is about going out to Play Army -- and about how that adventure could turn out. The ending is another brutal, ironic dead end.
"Wasteland" closed the side with a statement about the emptiness of life in England at the close of the '70s -- lightened-up by choruses of a tootling recorder. Punk purists probably hated it -- I thought it was pretty great.
Flip the record over and "Burning Sky" states the album's main themes directly & brutally -- life is beyond hard, and can you earn enough money to keep up? Because the pressure never stops....
Bassist Bruce Foxton's one song on the album is the classical/ironic "Smithers-Jones," about a lifelong bureaucrat whose job is eliminated without warning, leaving him with nothing to look forward to but an empty retirement -- sort of a distant cousin of The Kinks' classic "Shangri-La." The singing is accompanied only by a string section -- a production move also made by The Boomtown Rats on "I Don't Like Mondays."
"Saturday's Kids" is a look at Jam fans, or average British teens & young adults of the day -- it maybe doesn't add much, though it expands the bleak landscape against which these songs are set.
I admit I don't get all the political references, but "Eton Rifles" is another anthem about violence on the streets and in the country. Great singalong choruses & more slashing guitar from Weller.
The first side closes with the worst version of that old Martha and the Vandellas hit "Heat Wave" that you'll never want to hear again. Ghod knows why it's here unless it's just to fill space. Any of The Jam's bitter & brilliant later hits such as "Funeral Pyre" or "That's Entertainment" would have fit perfectly here.
There was talk after the album's release that a more extended concept was originally planned -- that the album's story was based around three childhood friends who grow up and apart after some unspecified future war. Perhaps Weller just didn't have time to finish all the songs, or the songs he had planned didn't cut it when it came time to record the album.
(Wikipedia confirms that a larger concept was originally planned, that the album as released was something of a rush job, & that "Heat Wave" & the previously-released-in-a-different-form "Smithers-Jones" were added to fill up the album. Wikipedia also says Sides 1 & 2 were switched for the U.S. release.)
I'm leaving something out of this review so far -- why this album had such a big impact on me, why I still play it now & then, though definitely not for "light entertainment."
Partly I'm sure it's because of the direct, slamming, in-your-face production -- the grim attack never really lets up. The slashing guitars & the great group vocals cements it.
And also, I'm sure, it's because at the time I never expected "a work of art" to emerge from "that punk-rock stuff" that I refused to listen to as A Matter Of Principle back then.
But most of all I'm sure it's because of the relentless atmosphere of grim, life-changing decisions that absolutely must be made Right Now -- against a backdrop of No Future.
It feels like Real Life. Especially these days....

#703: It's a long way there....

Spent all of Monday on a LONG road trip, down to Salem, Ore., to meet my Girlfriend's Father. That all went fine -- I was MUCH more worried about whether The New Car (bought back around Christmas) would break down somewhere along the road than I was about meeting the GF's Dad.
The trip down was four hours on busy I-5. It was around 90 degrees at our destination outside of Salem. Just south of Portland, with the temperature outside the car hovering around 89, the GF FINALLY convinced me to give the air conditioner a try, & it worked wonderfully -- & I drove the rest of the way there in a dreamy haze. Ain't technology wonderful?
Got there, met her Dad & some of the rest of her family -- nice people. Talked a lot, had some good food, tried to stay cool. Around 7 or so, we figured it was time to head back home, & it was still around 85 outside.
So I had one of my BRILLIANT IDEAS & suggested we head for the Oregon Coast, where it would be at least 20 degrees cooler than the Willamette Valley. The car had been running fine all day, I didn't want to fight the I-5 traffic again, & I hadn't seen the ocean in 10 years. It would be a nice relaxed drive home for us, so...? She said if I was up for it, she was.
Four hours down, EIGHT hours back home.
I was an idiot. I couldn't guess distances right. I was familiar with the roads north of Tillamook, Ore., so I had some idea of how far the drive back home would be. & I knew it was only about 50 miles to the ocean. What I didn't know was some of the stuff we'd encounter along the way. Not that we didn't have a fun, interesting time....
Driving into the sun as we headed west from Salem. Winding climbs into the low Coast Ranges. We saw the Marine Layer of low overcast clouds coming in from a distance, then curved off to the north to head for Tillamook. Climbed up what I thought was the last range of hills between us and the coast....
And drove right into a huge fog bank. The temperature dropped from the low 80s to the low 50s in a matter of minutes. We'd gone from summer heat to winter cool in less than 50 miles.
In the middle of the thick, shrouding fog was a road construction project -- a 15-minute wait before a pilot car led a long line of us drivers through the five-mile-long pavement-resurfacing project.
But when we dropped back down out of that and came out of the fog, we drove through the rolling green farms and leaping forest-topped hills of Tillamook Cheese country. To see all this gorgeous greenery with lakes and inlets sprinkled all through it in the evening twilight was like seeing paintings of The Shire in Middle Earth. It was all quite pretty, seemingly deserted, & very quiet around 8:30 or so.
By the time we hit the coast at Tillamook, it was pitch-dark. & apparently on Oregon's North Coast the sidewalks all roll up by 9 p.m. We finally found a gas station to fill-up the car, & bought a couple mocha frappes for some caffeine to keep us going. And we kept heading north.
Put on some music to -- I hoped -- keep me focused and motivated: Journey, Pete Townshend, Todd Rundgren, Keane. When that started to get boring, I turned on the radio and found a few "modern country" stations to keep the GF happy. Heard some pretty good stuff, too -- done mostly by women. For me, country songs seem to have more depth of feeling when women sing them.
Drove through some beautiful coastal fishing villages, gorgeous lights sparkling on the water -- almost all of them closed down tight. Could see & hear the ocean but couldn't get close to it. At one point when the caffeine got to me, we pulled over & I downed some aspirin ... and I could hear the ocean waves roaring off below us. But I couldn't see a thing.
Drove through my old stomping grounds of Raymond and South Bend, Wash., both looking very quiet in the 1 a.m. darkness. Amazing how much stupid, petty crime happened in two such small, quiet towns while I was a reporter there.
Stopped for more strong coffee at Montesano, topped-off the car and dashed for home. Finally got back to the house around 3. Was a little shaky in places -- between Tillamook and Astoria it seemed at times as if the shadows on the road in front of me were sinking into the pavement in slow motion as the bright lights from the car made them vanish. More than once or twice I thought I was seeing things. I didn't mention any of this to the GF. I KNEW I'd been driving for WAY too long.
It made for an 18-hour day, most of it on the road. I will certainly try to NEVER do THAT again. My vacation's coming up in another two weeks, and I still hope to make it over to the ocean.
During the DAYTIME, next time....