Archive | March, 2009

Bad Poetry for Tuesday

31 Mar

i may be getting on in years
but i’m no grandpa yet;
though all the same i’m shocked by all
the things that i forget

i forget my watch, forget my keys
forget my wallet with worrying ease
and anything else related to
my day-to-day activities

i forget to turn the light off,
i forget to dim my screen
i forget to kill the power;
it ain’t easy being green

i forget to check nextmuni
when i take the 6 parnassus
and so I wait, and when it comes
i forgot all my fast passes

i forget to double-knot my shoes,
and when they come unlaced,
i just hope that i forget to trip
and fall flat on my face

i forget to tune my horn up
i forget to wet my reed
i forget to check the roadmap
i forget to check the key

the actor with the claim to fame,
the star athlete
who won the game;
to my distress,
they’re all the same -
they slip, they slide, they won’t remain
within my fast-collapsing brain.

and though we were just introduced,
it seems that i’ve forgot your name.


Do you ever wonder…

29 Mar

…where my favorite place to get a sandwich is in San Francisco? Or the name of the studio where I most enjoy recording music?

Well, thanks to Karen Palmer at the SF Examiner, now you know.


The answer to that first one is a resounding "Kezar Bar & Grill."

Austin McMahon’s Album “Many Muses”

28 Mar

austinmcmahonSometimes I think it’s just nuts how many amazing musicians I know.  For real – it’s nuts.  At any given moment in time, there are at least four or five albums that require my attention, released by various players I went to school with or have played alongside in SF.  They’re all off the beaten path, ranging in genre from modern jazz to Baltic improvisation to dream-pop to hard rock. And to a one, they are all really, really good.

So, I decided that I’d take the opportunity to write a bit about some of them, to try to put into words just what I like about each album so much. My intention is not to post criticism or reviews, just to share a bit about some of my friends and the music they make.


The first one I’ll tackle is a new album by drummer Austin McMahon. His debut solo record, it’s titled “Many Muses,” and holy balls, it is great.  Austin and I were in the same year at UMiami; well, I should say we started the same year. Austin was one of those overachieving types who showed up flush with AP credits and got his undergrad and his master’s in 5 years.  During that time, he became probably the most sought-after drummer at school, and it wasn’t because he had amazingly burning chops (he did), or because he could juggle his sticks while wailing on the double-bass pedal (I have not seen him do this, but I’m sure he can); it was because he was so musical in his playing, so deft and supportive with his choices, that he made anyone he was playing with sound better.  I’ve never heard a drummer so in tune with the bigger picture, so aware of the contours of the band around him – and neither had anyone else.

So, yeah. Austin is a freaking awesome drummer. His playing is on display on several other of my friends’ albums as well, each of which deserves (and will have) its own post on this blog. He plays beautifully on Kenji Shinagawa’s album “Perhaps, Drawing Again,” on Landon Knoblock’s record “The Heartbeat, The Breath,” and he plays his ass off on Carmen Staaf’s new disc “Reflection” (Carmen also plays piano and accordion on “Muses”).

But here’s the thing about “Many Muses” – while there is plenty of great drumming on this album, at its heart, this record is all about Austin’s compositions. More so than just about any record I’ve heard recently, this disc is a collection of melodies, tied together by an uncluttered and uncompromising vision and performed with an unbelievable level of dexterity and clarity.  These songs are really, really fucking good, with precisely-structured layers and wonderful, logical melodies.  I have heard Austin’s compositions before, and have always thought of him as a really musical dude, but this album has blown my reckoning of the man to a new level.

Take the opening track, “Vidrio.”  Does it get any cooler than this?  It’s got this awesome, lurching melody, and it just develops, develops, develops.  Or hell, listen to the ballad “Strife,” for an undiluted melody, played, appropriately, by Austin himself on the melodica, along with clarinet and arco bass.  Want to hear the drums take the melody on themselves?  Check out “I.O.U.”

It’s also cool that Carmen is playing on this record, since “Many Muses” feels a bit similar to her most recent record; it’s got clarinet, Austin on drums, intricately composed tunes, and has a number of shorter “interlude” pieces that make listening to the album much more of an experience than listening to any one track. Going along with the argument I made a few months ago, it stands to reason that as long as artists are making albums with this much consideration put towards the flow and experience of the record as a whole, the album as a musical form is not going anywhere.

This is an album I really like, made by someone I’m super-proud to know.  Do yourself a favor and buy this disc – it is an absolutely amazing work, loaded with beautiful melodies and outstanding, delicate musicianship.

Things I Am Loving Today

27 Mar

1) My AKG K240 Studio Headphones

I truly hope that no one needs my attention at the moment, because it is focused squarely on you, My AKG K240 Studio Headphones.  When I put on your large, soft, circumaural ear cups, the outside world melts away! Everyone says not to look for perfection in a partner, but with you, I don’t feel like I’m settling in any way – you really ARE perfect!  From your wide stereo field to your removable mini-XLR plug, you are the full package, My AKG K240 Studio Headphones.  What’s more, I could wear you all day, and never get listeners fatigue or sore ears. And now that you’ve been discontinued and replaced with a twice-as-expensive, worryingly different-looking “Mark II,” I cherish you all the more.  Would that I’d known, I would have bought five of you!  But alas, there is only you, My AKG K240 Studio Headphones; lucky you, you’ll get my whole heart, and both of my ears.


Mmm, baby. XXL Transducers, indeed.

2) Trader Joe’s Columbia Sumatra House Blend

Roses are red, violets are blue, coffee is various shades of brown, and I love grinding you up and straining you through water! Oh, Trader Joe’s Columbia Sumatra House Blend; the thought of your delicious flavor gets me up in the morning, and your high level of caffination keeps me up! I have tried many roasts of coffee in my time – TJ’s Bay Blend, French Roast, some of the smaller sumatra cans, not to mention various roasts and blends from Harbucks, and none can hold a candle, or a coffee grinder, to you.


You also make a great hand-drum.

3) Patterns For Jazz by Jerry Coker

They say that true love never gets boring, and you never cease to surprise me, Patterns for Jazz by Jerry Coker!  Whenever I want a method book that will surprise me with its puckish, irascible nature, I reach for you, and you never let me down!  One minute, I’m running my major 9th arpeggios by whole-steps, and then, surprise!  You rascal, you’ll make me do them in minor thirds! You so crazy! And it makes me crazy with love. Before I can wipe the bemused smile off of my face, you’ve had me play the same pattern five different ways, inverted, or rhythmically flipped, or, oh ho!  With a new chord tone!  You have so many ways of making your first fifty pages interesting that I wonder if I’ll ever make it through to the end? But when a journey has been as deep and rewarding as ours, well, Patterns for Jazz by Jerry Coker, can you really blame me for never wanting it to end?


My love for you will never be diminished, or even half-diminished.

4) The Sun

Hello, The Sun.  I’ve been waiting for you.  I know you were always there, lurking just out of sight, thinking of me like I was thinking of you… in my heart I knew this was true, but seeing you again, it still feels so good! Now that you’re back in my life, every day is a wide-open window, a fruit salad in the breeze, a long afternoon jog.  Sure, you may be a mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace where hydrogen is built into helium at a temperature of millions of degrees, but, The Sun, you’re my mass of incandescent gas. Now is the springtime of our love; let’s make the most of it, before the long, foggy days of summer come to steal you away from me again.


Only a middle-sized star, and the only star of my heart.

Full-Court Press

24 Mar

So, yeah, I haven’t been posting that much this past week.  Here’s why:


Spreading the word is, unfortunately, using up all of my words, and I’ve none left for Murfins.  I should be back to writing bad poetry, semi-creepy lists of things I admire about people, and a bunch of mea culpas about Lost, Resident Evil 5, and Dollhouse, shortly.  Time to lick some stamps.

Gigs With Really Famous People

21 Mar

79569142_c6dd159404_oTonight, as most folks head out for their second weekend of St. Patty’s day partying (right?  Is that what people are doing this weekend?  I have no life), I’ll be hitting the stage with none other than the lovely Petula Clark.

She’s doing a show one night only at the Castro Theatre, and it’s gonna be a doozy.  I’ve played in her band before – we did a show at the Herbst Theatre a couple of years ago, and it was really cool. Going into the gig, I didn’t know anything about her music (0ther than “Downtown,” of course), and I was really impressed with her, both in terms of her material and her vocal chops. In addition to all of her own stuff, she did a solo piano version of The Beatles’ “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” that was absolutely beautiful.

What’s more, it was a challenging gig! I remember feeling under-prepared, particularly in the flute department.  I was playing in a horn section with trumpet maestro Dave Scott, who is the picture of perfect professionalism, and it was a great kick in the ass, musically.  Needless to say, I’ve been shedding flute all week, and am feeling much more prepared.

I’ve also been reflecting a bit on these sorts of gigs. Playing with Petula, or at the Castro with Connie Francis, or sitting onstage behind Joan Rivers… it’s always an interesting deal. Performing with a superstar from another era is such a weird, cool treat – there’s nothing quite like stumbling onstage with someone who is literally the most successful female pop musician in British history, (Really!  She’s in Guiness!), playing a couple of sets, then going home to relative obscurity. I think that the conflict arises from playing professionally with someone who you know academically is a really big deal, but who has never been a really big deal in your life.

castroWhat’s more, everyone’s there with a job to do, and you’re all doing it, so the band’s professionalism overshadows the fact that one of the people in the room is a universally adored music icon. A bunch of my friends are on this gig – Ross Grant is playing guitar, Darren Johnston is playing trumpet (along with Dave), and last week’s person I wanted to be, Daniel Fabricant, is usually on bass (he put together the band, but subbed out the actual gig this time). The familiar faces add to the contrasting feelings of relaxed professionalism (I’m onstage with Ross, I’m reading sax charts) and nervous nervousness (That’s Petula Clark! She’s a big deal! Woah, the theater is totally sold out! The audience is going nuts!).

I don’t do too much casual gigging anymore, but when I do, I prefer these sorts of gigs, I think.  I’m looking forward to tonight, and hope that I’m more comfortable with the music this time around.  Also, that I don’t piss off Petula’s hardass of a musical director. (eek!) But more than anything, I’ll try to relax for a bit and enjoy getting to sit onstage behind a music legend, playing my part in a show that will make a lot of San Franciscans very happy.

Monday’s Person I Want To Be

16 Mar

jeff-richmond1This Monday, I want to be none other than Jeff Richmond, the man behind the music on 30 Rock.  I’ve been watching some episodes streaming on Netflix lately (did you guys know that it now works on Intel Macs?  I feel like they should have made a bigger deal out of this), and while I’ve always loved the music on the show, I feel that I’ve only recently had a chance to give it a considered listen.  And damn, is it good.

According to Wikipedia, Richmond got his start writing for Second City, then went to SNL, and from there, headed to 30 Rock. I’m not sure if he was ever a comedian, or whether he just wrote funny songs, though I guess that anyone who can write “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” or “Muffin Tops” is pretty much a “comedian” whether or not that’s what he does for a living.

Anyhow, I’ve had a chance to sit with Richmond’s cues and episodic scores, and I’m so, SO into them.  To start with, he uses an awesome group of musicians – the band is driven mainly by reeds, with clarinets and saxophones featured heavily.  There are some great percussive high-notes, as well, usually coming from a set of bells or a mandolin, and he uses a jazz choir and brass section really effectively.

What’s more, the sound of his band is far from the uber-tight, “studio” sound that Hollywood is so capable of producing. The players play a little bit out of tune sometimes, but it actually adds to the casual, goofy energy and vibe of the performance.  The band sounds like a bunch of old pros who’ve gotten together for an informal jam in the studio, and the playing has a busk-y quality that’s really appealing.

He does groovy things with the show’s main theme, too.  In its usual form (like, during the credits), it sounds like this:


But, as each episode goes on, it’s remarkable the ways in which he twists and skews that theme.  I’m not sure I can think of another show that uses a single musical motif in so many different ways (I’m not really counting the slap bass in Seinfeld). The most common of Richmond’s variations is whenever something is “brewing,” or someone is being “evil,” the low strings play the theme, but streeeetttched out, and loooow, and the result is an sneaky, slinking line that conveys “mischief” just perfectly.

Richmond does a fantastic job, as well, of keeping the rhythm of the episodes moving along.  He does this both by interspersing his musical cues with some really swinging drumming, and by constantly modulating the music on the fly. Drums pepper so many scenes on the show – four on the floor, brushes on the snare, and as people talk, or walk and talk, the groove keeps things moving, and in between bits of dialogue, the horns and strings kick in and transition the actors from line to line. Standard stuff, as far as TV cues go, but really, really well done.

He’ll also step outside of his standard themes to come up with some episode-specific gems. I recently noticed a really good one in the season 2 episode “Greenzo.”  I’m not sure if this theme had made its way into the show’s music before, though it’s since become a recurring motif.


Oh, man!  I can’t tell you how much I dig that progression and melody.  I’m sure that literally no one out there will sit down with their piano or guitar and play the above line, but if you can, I recommend it.  It’s very, very cool.  As the episode moves along, the band plays that theme, quickly modulating it up a half-step every time the scene changes.  In the closing credits alone, the music goes from Bb to B to C to C# to D.  Between the creative re-orchestrations and the constant key changes, the music has a sense of momentum that really, really works.  Plus, it’s catchy as hell.

So, yes. This week, I wanna be Jeff Richmond. He’s a total pro, gets to work on one of the funniest shows on TV, and has a really, really good band playing his stuff.  And I know there was another reason… hmm… something else… maybe something relating to his personal life?  Maybe let’s look at the full version of that picture:


Oh yeah, that’s right. He’s married to Tina Fey.  Some people have it pretty good, I tell ya.

No One Watches(Mourns) the Watchmen(Wicked)

15 Mar

boundswickedThis weekend was filled with spectacle – on Friday night, I bopped on down to the Orpheum Theatre on Market and saw Wicked, and on Saturday night, I caught Watchmen in IMAX.  Two huge spectacles, both satisfying in their way.

First, Wicked. Pretty cool!  I’ve been aware of this musical for a long, loooong time – I used to teach a lot of younger students, and the devotion that a certain subset of my students (the 13-year-old girlish ones) showed for this musical was pretty fanatical.  I went in knowing a little of the backstory, and only a few of the songs (the usual ones – “Popular,” “Defying Gravity,” “I’m Not That Girl”).  I really enjoyed the production of the show, and Teal Wicks, who played Elphaba (the green witch), had some serious pipes.  Damn.  However, I couldn’t quite get over the fact that the music was… just… lacking.  In every department.  Almost to the point of ridiculousness?  I suppose that since I’d heard a few of the songs beforehand, I should have known what to expect going in, but by and large, the songs in Wicked are so loaded up with pop cliches, both musical and lyrical, that they are rendered almost unnoticeable.

Forget about comparing these songs to Harold Arlen’s work in the original Wizard of Oz – I can’t even compare it to the music in any Broadway show I’ve seen. Anything by ALW?  No way.  Rent?  Same sport, utterly different league. Sondheim or Bernstein? Don’t make me laugh.

Which raises the question – do Broadway musicals no longer aspire to contain great original music? I don’t really know what I’m talking about here, since I never really go to shows, but from what I’ve seen lately, most of the big-ticket shows are so-called “Jukebox Musicals” like Mamma Mia, Movin’ Out, and Jersey Boys.  I’m guessing that there are some good new ones out there, I just don’t know of them.  Maybe someone can enlighten me – what new Broadway musicals (if any) are out there that feature strong original music?

rorschachWatchmen was just great all around. I have read a lot about it online now, and don’t have a ton new to add, other than my overall opinion, which is that Zack Snyder did an absolutely fantastic job.  I’ll direct you to Mick LaSalle’s review at The Chronicle, Andrew O’Hehir’s review on Salon, and Joe R’s review on at Low Resolution.  I agree with most of what each of those gentlemen said.

I saw the flick in IMAX, which was cool, but got there late and had to sit in the front row, which was not so cool.  I’ve never felt so owned by a screen before.  Yikes!  Anyhow. I finished the graphic novel just days before seeing the movie, so it was still fresh in my mind. As a result, I felt like I could truly appreciate the (frankly astonishing) degree to which Snyder adhered to the source material… it really was like watching the characters on the page come alive.

Jackie Earle Haley was really, really great as Rorschach. I also thought it was cool that the actor who plays the right-wing sociopath has a total three-part assassin name. Also, seeing his mask in motion was one of my favorite cinematic grace notes – it looked exactly like I imagined it would look, and never got old.  The fight scenes were also great, and superbly choreographed and directed.  What’s more, the action depicted really managed to capture the ambiguity about the nature of these people’s “superness,” something that I enjoyed in the novel.  The Watchmen were normal people (except, of course, for Dr. Manhattan), but they were also more, and the graceful and occasionally bizarre fight scenes captured that wonderfully.

I did really miss the scenes at the newsstand, as well as some of the backstory that had to get cut out (particuarly of Ozymandias, whose character got the shortest shrift in the adaptation), but I’m more than willing to cut slack to the writers. They did a fantastic job of cutting “fat” from a novel in which basically no fat exists.  I’d say that anyone who saw and enjoyed the movie and hasn’t read the novel owes it to him or herself to pick up a copy and experience the whole story.

(SPOILER!) Last thing – surprisingly, I really liked the change they made to the ending. For some reason, I thought that they weren’t going to kill Rorschach for whatever reason, which would have sucked.  Instead, by getting rid of the squid and changing the “new evil” to be Dr. Manhattan, the story felt tighter, and the resolution even cleaner.  I don’t know which of the two credited screenwriters had that idea, but it was a damn good one, and I’m astounded that they so effectively managed the double feat of sticking to the source material AND knowing when to change course. (END SPOILER)

Anyway.  I liked both epic “w”-beginning shows I saw this weekend, and I recommend seeing both.  If you’ve yet to see Wicked, it’s playing at The Orpheum until September, so you can doubtless find a time to see it.  Just don’t expect to hear another “Over the Rainbow,” or even a “La Vie Bohem.”  It’s a bit less “Great American Musical” and a bit more “High School Musical.” But still loads of fun.

And if you’ve yet to see Watchmen, see it in IMAX, and get there early enough to get a good seat.  Also, if you’ve got some free time, read the novel before seeing the movie; it’ll make the movie even better.  And when was the last time that was true?

Murfins and Burgalinks

13 Mar

coverOkay, first things first. Did you guys SEE Jon Stewart’s smackdown of Jim Cramer on The Daily Show last night?  If not, watch it right now.  I’m seriously. I’ll be here when you get back.  Go.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Stewart go THAT hard at a guest on TDS.  The Tucker Carlson Crossfire thing from a few years ago comes to mind, but that wasn’t on his show, wasn’t fifteen minutes long, and didn’t feel nearly as one-sided.  Both and The New York Times have posted op-eds about the interview.  I gotta say, as gratifying as it felt to see someone from CNBC be taken down like that, the NYT article is right.  CNBC’s audience is indeed the traders who allowed this thing to happen, and the network is not in the business of acting like a watchdog over Wall Street. And the hype surrounding Cramer’s feud with Jon Stewart probably only helped their ratings. What that says about capitalism, morals, and any chance we’ve got at having an objective news media, I leave to you.

Speaking of unpleasant things, it would appear that there is actually going to be a Heathers musical. That’s right: a Heathers musical.  JFC already.  Could this actually be good?  It’s being written by the guy who wrote Reefer madness, and the music is by the guy who did the music for Legally Blonde: The Musical. Also, it is HEATHERS, THE MUSICAL. So, no. This will probably not be good.

Iroquois Pliskin wrote a cool reflection about sound design on his blog Versus CluClu Land.  It’s not really new news that gauging sound effect distance can help lend a distinct upper hand in first-person shooters – I kind of remember reading an interview with that Fatal1ty guy, the “best gamer ever,” talking about how he always used headphones when playing, and could almost play (and pwn) with his eyes closed. The whole thing made me reflect fondly on Far Cry 2, since that game forces players down into the foliage, and makes them rely on their ears to alert them to the proximity of enemies, since their field of vision is severely limited. It really changes the game dynamic in a fun way.  I’d like to see more games tackle that kind of thing; killing the lights in a room and forcing players to locate things by sound.  If we could get sense of touch in there, as well, we’d be talking about a whole new sensory take on the concept of “First-Person.”  Maybe creative use of rumble feedback or something?



Also, Kotaku received the most amazing Left 4 Dead matryoshka dolls I’ve ever seen. Okay, they’re the only Left 4 Dead matryoshka dolls I’ve ever seen.  I am so jealous of the editors, that they get to have those things.  Also, the littlest guy is wearing this T-shirt, which I now also want in the worst way.  Speaking of that, does anyone know where the whole Nuh & Nuh & Nuh & Nah thing came from?  I got my sister an awesome Blair&Serina&Chuck&Dan shirt from Glarkware, but I’m sure they weren’t the first to think of it.  It’s an awesome idea, and a great way to make a shirt about whatever the hell you’d like without stepping on any copyright toes.  I love it.  And want the L4D shirt.

Suzanne Vega recently put up an absolutely lovely post at Measure for Measure about the nature of Melody.  Oh, how we struggle to put these things into words!  I absolutely love how she equates melody to sense of smell and how both are so strongly tied to memory.  So true.

I haven’t linked to My New Plaid Pants in a while, but man, his Thursday’s Way Not To Die from a couple of weeks ago was one of my favorite movie deaths of all time – Martian Atmospheric Asphyxiation from Total Recall.  Those bugged-out eyes still haunt my dreams.

The Fug Girls at have started up Fug Madness 2009, and I recommend geting in on the early brackets.  It’s always, always a good time, even if you, like me, have no frigging idea who half of these chicks (and occasionally, dudes) are.  Seriously – Agyness Deyn?  Robert Pattinson?  Who are these people?

This weekend, I’m going to see Wicked, as well as Watchmen in IMAX.  So, a lot of specticle in only two days.  I’ve never seen Wicked, but man, back when I taught younger students, they were obsessed with it.  So, I’m excited to see what all the hubbub is about.  I feel sort of like I’m finally going to watch High School Musical, but less terrified. I also finished Watchmen (the book) this week, and am really interested in seeing it on the big (BIG) screen, particularly since so many reviews I read of it say that it’s incredibly faithful to the source material.  Except for (SPOILER) the omission of the giant squid-monster, which someone was kind enough to spoil me on via facebook status update.  Not that that really constitutes a deal-breaking spoiler or anything, but still.  That was kind of the weirdest part of the book, but I liked it – it’ll be interesting to see what Ozymandius’s master plan is in the movie.

Hasta Lasagna, folks!


I’m… so… thirsty

12 Mar


Monday’s Person I Want To Be

9 Mar

Boom boom boom.

This Monday I find myself wanting to emulate the one, the only, bassist extraordinaire Daniel Fabricant.

Unlike past iterations of this post, I’m basing this on firsthand knowledge. Daniel was one of the first musicians I met out in San Francisco – back in 2003 we did a jazz gig up in Stinson Beach, and soon afterward, I had him come over and record bass on some of the very first songs I had written. Since then, we always seem to wind up playing together – in Tape, in my jazz group, in his groups at clubs all over the bay area, at huge shows accompanying a series of world-famous dames… he also plays upright on half the tracks on The Exited Door.  What I’m saying is, Daniel and I go back.

So, you know the “connectors” in Malcom Gladwell’s The Tipping Point?  And you know how everyone says that they are one, even though they’re really just kinda social?  Well, Daniel actually is one. It’s amazing. He’s like the Kevin Bacon of the SF music scene. Everyone’s either played with him or knows folks who have. From jazz to rock to latin to cabaret, dude’s got a gig (or three) every night of the week, and quite literally knows every single player in the city.

It doesn’t hurt that he’s got great chops and is a total pro accross the board, and bass players are often that way, I guess – after all, everyone needs a bass player! But it remains remarkable – in much the same way as his bass anchors the piano to the drums, the horns to the rhythm section, Daniel himself connects to and brings together just about every player in town.

And where, you may ask, is he right now?  Oh, he’s just getting back from a weeks-long engagement overseas.  In France.  That’s right, France.

This guy, I’m telling you.


Check out Daniel’s group Nice Guy Trio, also featuring trumpeter Darren Johnston and accordionist Rob Reich.  I’m helping them mix their first full-length album, and it sounds absolutely fantastic!

They’re playing at the Make-Out Room tonight, Monday the 9th, and will be on the Pirate Cat Radio Cafe, 87.9FM at 5:00 this wednesday, March 11th.


They even LOOK like nice guys.

The Many Bowls of 1778 9th Avenue

7 Mar

It’s a common problem: large groups of people cohabit, roommates come and go, and after a few years, dish accumulation reaches mind-boggling levels.  It can be confusing for everyone – which bowl goes where?  How should they be washed? And which one is best used for pasta?  For cereal? How about ice cream?

Here at Richie’s Field Guides, we feel your pain!  That’s why we’ve written this, our 2009 Field Guide to the seventeen distinct species of bowl indigenous to the kitchen at 1778 9th Avenue.


1. Small Red Bowl, Asian Design.

  • # in Cupboard: 4
  • Primary Uses: Small fruit salad, Crackers or nuts for party.
  • Identifying Characteristics: Small, Plastic, Ethnic, Part of larger set

2. Inverted Pyramid Bowl

  • # in Cupboard: 2
  • Primary Uses: Medium fruit salad, Asian noodle dishes
  • Identifying Characteristics: Odd shape, Not good for cereal

3. Standard White Bowl

  • # in Cupboard: 2
  • Primary Uses: Large Cereal Bowl, Soup Bowl
  • Identifying Characteristics: Good shape, weird yellow ring in basin

4. White Saucer

  • # in Cupboard: UNIQUE ITEM
  • Primary Uses: Veggies, Non-liquid materials
  • Identifying Characteristics: Not exactly a bowl

5. Large Brown Bowl

  • # in Cupboard: 3
  • Primary Uses: All-purpose, Cereal, Popcorn, Soup
  • Identifying Characteristics: Sturdy, Gets really hot in microwave

6. Standard Bowl (Purple)

  • # in Cupboard: UNIQUE ITEM
  • Primary Uses: All-purpose, size between #3 and #5,
  • Identifying Characteristics: Origins unknown, Sort of tulip-shaped

7. Wide White Bowl

  • # in Cupboard: 3
  • Primary Uses: Cereal
  • Identifying Characteristics: Wide base, sturdy construction

clear-scalloped18. Scalloped Glass Bowl

  • # in Cupboard: UNIQUE ITEM
  • Primary Uses: Small cereal bowl, small soup bowl, Ice cream
  • Identifying Characteristics: Fits with #11 and #16, Unique design

9. Wide Brown Bowl

  • # in Cupboard: UNIQUE ITEM
  • Primary Uses: Salad, Stews, Meat Loaf (never used for this)
  • Identifying Characteristics: Recent immigrant; Shows real promise

10. Large Scalloped Glass Bowl

  • # in Cupboard: UNIQUE ITEM
  • Primary Uses: Dinner Salads, Popcorn
  • Identifying Characteristics: Origins unknown, Possibly came in with #8

blue-bowl11. Small Blue Bowl

  • # in Cupboard: UNIQUE ITEM
  • Primary Uses: Small cereal bowl, Small soup bowl, Small yogurt bowl
  • Identifying Characteristics: Fits with #8 and #16, Has strong moral fiber

12. Small Bowl, Plastic

  • # in Cupboard: UNIQUE ITEM
  • Primary Uses: Small bowl ideal for fruit, seasonings, or chopped veggies
  • Identifying Characteristics: A plastic doppelganger of #15

13. Wide Glass Baking Bowl

  • # in Cupboard: UNIQUE ITEM
  • Primary Uses: Medium-large salad, pasta, pot pies (never used for this)
  • Identifying Characteristics: Origins unknown, has lid somewhere

14. Large Green Salad Bowl

  • # in Cupboard: UNIQUE ITEM
  • Primary Uses: Mixing Dry Cookie Ingredients, Large Salads
  • Identifying Characteristics: Strangely sad, rarely used because of #10

white-ceramic115. Small White Ceramic Bowl

  • # in Cupboard: 5
  • Primary Uses: Small bowl ideal for fruit, seasonings, or chopped veggies
  • Identifying Characteristics: A ceramic doppelganger of #12

16. Small Glass Bowl

  • # in Cupboard: 5
  • Primary Uses: Small cereal bowl, small soup bowl, small yogurt bowl
  • Identifying Characteristics: Fits with #8 and #11, shifty personality

17. Large Wooden Bowl

  • # in Cupboard: UNIQUE ITEM, not in cupboard
  • Primary Uses: Sits on table, holds fruit and garlic until it becomes rotten
  • Identifying Characteristics: Wooden, needs washing


At Richie’s Field Guides, we’re dedicated to giving you a quality field guide experience. We hope that this guide has been helpful!  Just keep it on your person whenever you venture into the kitchen and you’ll be spot-identifying “Small blue bowl” and “Large green salad bowl” in no time!


In the Footsteps of Good Men

6 Mar


…yeah, baby.

Unlikely Words That I Like

3 Mar


Crampons are outdoor footwear that include pointed metal parts and are worn on boots to provide traction on snow and ice. General-purpose crampons designed for most mountaineering and glacierice climbing. For ice climbing, specialized crampons that provide better support for front pointingwelted boots to ensure proper fitting. travel are not well suited for vertical are advised. Most crampons require


Ebb is the flowing back of the tide as the water returns to the sea (opposed to flood, flow ).


Thwart (transitive) to prevent; to halt; to cause to fail; to foil; to frustrate.


Gubernatorial : of or relating to a governor.


The phalanx (Ancient Greek: φάλαγξ, Modern Greek: φάλαγγα, phālanga) (plural phalanxes or phalanges (Ancient and Modern Greek: φάλαγγες, phālanges)) is a rectangular mass military formation, usually composed entirely of heavy infantry armed with spears, pikes, or similar weapons.


In the television industry (especially in North America), a lower third is a graphic placed in the lower area of the screen, though not necessarily the entire lower third of it as the name suggests. (…)

Lower thirds are also often known as captions, or occasionally chyrons in North America,[1] and astons in the United Kingdom, after the major suppliers of broadcast caption/graphic generators. Other common terms include superbars (or simply supers) (US) and name straps (UK).


Tchotchke—originally from a Slavic word for “toys” (Polish cacka, tsatsca; Russian цацки, tsatsci)—adapted to Yiddish טשאַטשקע tshatshke, tshàtshq·qh|tshawtshq·qh, “trinket”, are small toys, gewgaws, knickknacks, baubles, trinkets, or kitsch.

In Which I Play With Dolls

2 Mar

dollhouseOkay.  Okay.  Seriously, okay, people, everyone just settle down. Dollhouse is going to be awesome.  I have been assured of this.

There was a lot of build-up to the first episode, most of it scary and of ill portent. Fox was effing with the concept, forcing Joss to re-shoot the pilot and change the order of the episodes, adding a lot of brainless T&A and making him move the mythology-heavy episodes to later in the season, all while hanging the threat of imminent cancellation over the show… it appeared that, once again, we were going to invest in a wonderful show with a great premise, helmed by one of TVland’s all-time most beloved figures, only to watch it die before its time.  All this has happened before, and it will happen again.

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