Sam as he ever was...

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Vagueposting: The past few weeks

Lots going on in my world, but I am not too inclined to get into details in this venue at the moment. I’ll leave a few breadcrumbs nonetheless. Starting in the last week-ish of May there has been:

  • A weekend trip to the coast
  • A family medical emergency (was quite scary initially but turned out OK)
  • New furry family members (one who will be permanent and two who are temporary)
  • An unfortunate outcome on a job application that I thought I had nailed
  • A friend in town I haven’t seen for a long long time; visiting with him was a load of fun
  • A “thinking about it” becoming “getting a plan underway” toward moving somewhere that we can have more space and more quiet

See? It’s been busy.


I woke up this morning (no alarm; I almost never use one), stretched and opened my eyes. “What is it, like 7:20?” I thought.

It was. It was exactly 7:20.

This happens to me a lot, where I wake up, mentally guess the time, and hit it right on the nose. This is the third time in the past few days that has happened.

As a musician, has my sense of time become that expansive?

Obviously, light (or lack of it) in the room can be a clue to a general time, but that marker moves, too, especially here in the Pacific Northwest where we are entering that part of year with amazing long twilights in the evenings.

The only explanation: I am an android whose internal chronometer occasionally leaks into my conscious thought. Guess I need a new gasket or something.

Constraints inspire creativity

My tweet that was a response to this tweet about the origin of Dr. Seuss’s “The Cat in the Hat”

I am a big believer in using constraints to inspire creativity. I once had a composition teacher tell me “To be more creative, define problems for yourself, and then solve them.”

In other words, use the truth of “necessity is the mother of invention” in a deliberate way.

Post-Covid concert updates

With Covid waning, it is time to get back to hearing live music!

In the past year, I have attended shows by Bauhaus and Joe Jackson.

Upcoming, I’ll be seeing They Might Be Giants in a couple of weeks, and Tears For Fears in a few months. I am very excited about both of those.

Los Angeles Angels vs. Seattle Mariners

Game recap from

I went to this Wednesday afternoon game at T-Mobile Park in Seattle to get my first Mariners game in for the season, and to take in the massive star power:

  • The amazing generational talent Shohei Ohtani pitching for the Angels
  • Future Hall-of-Famer Mike Trout, who I had not seen play before
  • Julio Rodríguez (2022 Rookie of the Year) of the Mariners early in his second season

It was a great time all around, even though the Mariners lost 4-3. Weather was good, just a little chilly but not bad. I sat in one of my favorite parts of the park: Section 328, in the upper level but low in the section in Row 4, which offers a great overall view of the field plus the southern end of downtown.

View of a baseball stadium
View from my seat with Shohei Ohtani at bat

One thing I love about where I live is that I can go to games without needing to take the car out of the garage, so no screwing around with traffic or parking! I can walk (35minutes) or get a free Metro shuttle (5-10 minutes) to the dock for the King County Water Taxi ($5.75), and then have a lovely scenic ride across Elliott Bay to downtown. From there it is maybe a 15-minute walk to the stadium.

This was the view back toward West Seattle:

View of West Seattle from the King County Water Taxi
View of West Seattle from the King County Water Taxi

Looking the other direction, toward the south end of downtown:

View of south end of Seattle downtown from a boat
View from the Water Taxi approaching the southern end of downtown, with the baseball stadium just to the right of center

Again, the star power in this game was off the hook. Here’s Ohtani delivering a pitch to Julio in the bottom of the first inning:

Baseball game with Shohei Otani pitching to Julio Rodríguez
Shohei Ohtani pitching to Julio Rodríguez

Of course, being at a baseball game, snacks were a necessity!

Sam with a bag of Cracker Jack
Gotta have some Cracker Jack at a baseball game!

In the last few innings of the game I set out on foot to explore the stadium and see what was new this season. This was the first time I had seen the Julio photo booth, so of course:

Sam in the Julio Rodríguez photo booth
Here I am in the Julio Rodríguez photo booth

All in all, an enjoyable afternoon. The Mariners have a few more of these “businessman special” (forgive the gendered antiquated term for weekday day games) games this season and I’ll definitely want to go again.

After the game, I walked back to the water taxi and walked home. Pretty great to go to a game and be home before 6pm.

This was also the first game I had been to with the new pitch clock and other game-speed-up rules, and the accelerated pace was noticeable in a pleasant way. I grew up playing baseball every summer from ages 5-20, so the pacing is innate for me, and this felt good.

BuddyCat: 2002-2021

The past few days have been an incomparable emotional grind. To recap:

BuddyCat always had something to say

Thursday, 2 September: Kimberly and I made The Decision that it was time for us to help our long-time feline companion BuddyCat to a dignified and peaceful exit from this life. His health was in rapid decline due to chronic issues, especially his kidneys, and it was clearly only a few days that he had remaining. The thought of us getting into a long weekend with him, and him having a crisis and suffering while assistance was difficult or impossible to find, was not something we could bear.

Friday, 3 September: Goodbye, BuddyCat. Perhaps one day I will record the details of the day. Or not. The important thing is that he got a gentle, peaceful, and loving departure. I had never before considered that crying could lead to dehydration, but I learned.

Saturday, 4 September (yesterday): Our first full day without him. It was a hard day, with many moments of intense debilitating grief that somehow felt shocking and surprising, even though we knew we were amongst them.

And now we are on to the next day.

There are so many things I want to write about him, so many stories to tell, and so many photos to share and contextualize. Not now. At the moment, I just want to get through today.

4/20 Eve, Pandemic Version

Twas the night before 4/20,

And all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring,

Except a bong-ripping mouse.

Don’t forget tonight to leave out a White Russian and some cookies for The Dude. And also Willie, Cheech, Snoop, Chong, and Martha. And also Brad Pitt in “Say Anything”. Aw hell, go ahead and add all of your favorite stoners, whether fiction or non-fiction, who partake of the sacred herb; my blessings and high times to all. Say “Alexa, play Bob Marley, but do not listen in to my personal conversations,” and just go with it.

Anyway. To the pandemic…

We’re all going to emerge from this ongoing national crisis with our own unique stories of how fucked up it was, and those stories will probably become as dull and self-absorbed as “Where was I on 9/11?” (we were all staring in disbelief at a tiny TV, of course) or simply trying to re-tell one’s dreams to someone else.

Sure, there will be a few stories that are compelling, such as my friend who was atop WTC 1 on the evening of 9/10, or another friend who lived less than 100 yards from the nursing home in Kirkland WA where this Covid shit first went large in February. He had told me about the increased frequency of sirens in his neighborhood while we were still working together, onsite, not at home like we are now.

But, overall, we’ll mostly end up collectively griping about a period of inconvenience that pales in comparison to what Anne Frank and her family experienced, and there will be a numb centrality to the stories about Netflix, toilet paper shortages, and social distancing. “There was that time on March 25 that there was one pack of toilet paper left and a guy crawled over me to get it, that sumbitch.”

I don’t intend to sound cynical, but I think we will all learn that our individual boredom is not interesting to anyone else. Second-hand boredom is even more boring than regular boredom.

But it is not just boredom. There is anxiety. That is the true thing that defines where we each are. Everyone has anxiety these days, and they are all different collections of worries. That is the interesting part, and where we can learn and find help from our friends.

Some folks worry about livelihoods. Some folks worry about parents. Some folks worry about children. Some folks worry about health. Some folks worry about friends. Some folks worry about the economy. Some folks worry about politics. Some folks worry about themselves.  Some folks worry about sportsball. Some folks worry about the Masked Singer when many of us now wear masks. And it goes on and on and on.

My point: share your unique set of worries with your friends, and listen to theirs. While all of this craziness has been going on, the usual bullshit continues: people are still experiencing divorces, people are getting new cancer diagnoses, people are having horrible traffic accidents, people are losing pets, people fail job interviews, etc. Be a friend and be there.

Bill Hicks: March 1991

I was in Nashville for the SEC Mens’ Basketball Tournament in March 1991, and my friend Richard and I went out for the evening, looking for adventure. We found it!

I was already aware of Hicks and his work, so I was thrilled to see his name on the marquee at the club, and even more so upon learning that there were seats available. We sat right by the stage to the left of the video frame.

Sitting up front at a comedy show is not a great idea: Richard received a fair amount of attention from Hicks throughout the show.

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