Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sleepless in Seattle (I don't think that is a very clever title but I got up at 3am three days in a row)

Proud to check yet another state off my list! Had an awesome opportunity to head out to Seattle for 5 nights.  The work of course was tough, bad hours as well.  But lots of down time and I knew in advance I'd be doing everything I could to take advantage.  I was there from Thursday-Tuesday and the only time the customer allowed us to work was between 5-7am on weekdays and 5-9am on weekends.  So we would get to the plant at 4am everyday as they have some intense security and we needed to get things staged as best we could before 5am.  So all of this meant that I was waking up everyday at 3:10am! Everyday I would wake up at about 2:55am to piss, then I'd lay there and say a silent prayer.  I'd end up killing my alarm before it would even go off, then I'd get up at slap the button on my tiny in-room coffee maker which I'd set up the night before.  I'd brush my teeth and get dressed and get all my PPE on.  Then I'd dig in to my excellent breakfast - first a package of Pop Tarts, then I'd eat a package of Belvita 'breakfast biscuits' while I chugged my coffee.  I'd chug some water and leave my room at 3:30am on the dot.  A couple of the guys would usually already be down there in the lobby and we would leave the hotel in our giant rented SUV at 4am at the latest.

So on Thursday I flew in and we went to visit the plant and take a look at things that afternoon.  But we didn't have security clearance yet so we left and went back to the hotel.  Before dinner, I quickly got myself together and did an almost 4 mile round trip walk to check out Goodwill Tukwila - same down my hotel was in.

Found a couple gems but nothing worth buying.  I already have the Bob James collab (as well as the first) and I've had the entire CW McCall discography since before I even considered myself a 'record collector'.  The barbershop record is a serious score but I don't collect chorus albums.  It was still a bit tempting.

That night we went out to a nice dinner and I couldn't wait to get into bed and try to get as much sleep as I could.  Next morning I got up for work and did what I had to do; we grabbed some breakfast at Denny's afterwards and the second I got back to my room I charged my phone and jumped on a bus downtown to check out Pike Place Market.  I had a few things I wanted to see, not the least of which was Holy Cow Records.

I never know what the hell to do in record stores.  I've complained about this before many times.  I never know what I want, I just want to dig in the crates, otherwise it's like going to the grocery store.  You walk in, grab what you came for, pay and go home.  No fun at all.  I actually had the 4th record above when I was about 10 years old, my uncle got it for me.  And I had the 3rd album above in my hands last summer but left it behind.  I wonder how much they were charging for it here.  My girlfriend's brother in law actually scooped it when I tossed it back and even asked to make sure I didn't want it.  I didn't.  Still don't.  I did see a bunch of cool JJ and Kai Winding records (one is in the window below).  Only other thing worthy of note was a small box of 7" jazz EPs, I saw a few more stuff from Jay and Kai but I don't remember exactly which ones.

I screwed around downtown for a while and the next day again, went to work and again got right back on bus # 150 the second I could.  This time I wanted to check out what looked like the biggest independent thrift store in town and my hunch was correct, and then some! Lifelong Thrift store did not mess around with their vinyl, they had more vinyl than the record store from the day previous and (gasp!) they were actually alphabetized!  So I rode the bus only to Chinatown instead of Pike Place and grabbed a bike share cycle for $8 and headed up the extremely steep hills north to Capitol Hill and just about had a heart attack in the process. (afterwards I headed back south on Broadway, then southwest back to Pike Place again for foods and my daily requirement of double espressos).

here is one rack, plus the smaller 'new additions' rack in the background...

...and here are racks #3 and 4! And this is a thrift store!
It was honestly a bit overwhelming to look through but I did my best.  I have been cycling for years but those hills were so bad I was still recovering, I was really hungry and I was also cold because I didn't have a jacket or even a long sleeve shirt.  I looked through the immaculately organized and sleeved 7"s and only found one of note.  Or is it? My memory fails me and I did not take a picture.  It was a Neil Sedaka record on 'The Rocket Record Company' which was Elton John's label in the 70s when he brought Neil back from Europe, when his fame had waned domestically and got him to crank out some new hit records (I have all three of them). A while back I got my girlfriend one I am very jealous of, it is actually the B-side that I love.  I do have his biggest 'come-back' which is the torch version of one of his biggest hits, I never get sick of either version.  I feel like perhaps I saw a single that had both versions...but I thought I had it so I left it behind.  But now I cannot find evidence of such a thing? I need to research this further.

So I left and went across the street into a second hand clothes store hoping to find a thin jacket or a sweater or something but it was all overpriced.  So I ended up going back into Lifelong and I did find a new long sleeve polo for $6 that served me well the rest of the trip.  Then I grabbed some Thai food a half a block away and made my final hunt of the trip at Spin Cycle, which is also in the same block.

Again, I was pretty fried.  I initially swore to myself that I would NOT go in here.  I was so tired and while I log over 1000 miles a year on a bike, I was not ready for those hills.  But I felt somewhat better after my lunch so I hit it up anyways and made myself go through the motions.  I eventually found the jazz section (in the 'more records down here' area) but two guys were digging and I did not want to disturb them.  So I glanced at some other stuff and roamed around taking pictures and making a nuisance of myself.  When they were done, I went down there....but I was done.  Literally, couldn't deal with it.  So I flipped through a couple, grabbed a business card on my way out (scanned below, as always) and got back on that bike and headed out for more foods and coffee.  I had a great, great time in Seattle and maybe that was partially because it felt a lot like Chicago.  Or maybe I was just in the right neighborhoods.  This blog barely touches upon all the stuff I did for the days I was there.  We ended up finishing the project early so I had all day Monday to go out and my flight wasn't until Tuesday.  I took advantage of the time I had, as evidenced by this long post.  I'd love to go back, I hope one day I do.

'Triangle' crate (3 of 4)

So I continued on with my journey to create four competely irregular, asymetical crates to be stored, two by two, on a shelf in my living room where my old television used to be, which is now in an electronics recyclery or a landfill.

With this bin, I wanted to incorporate triangles.  The simplest approach it seemed to me was to use these triangles as the sides of my bin.  A right triangle, specifically, seemed well suited to a record bin with the square back, high rear (to support the records) and low front (to show the jackets).  I already used my chop saws capability to cut angles on my last bin so I figured this would be a piece of cake.

I remembered the Pythagorean theorem from high school but we only used it to calculate the edge lengths - but now I needed the angles as well.  I found an online calculator rather quickly and started experimenting with it.  It didn't take long to determine that this was going to exceed my saws capacity for angles - it is limited to a 45 degree in either direction.  However, shortly after that (through experimentation) I found that if edge A and edge B are the same length, both angles are 45s.  So that would work just fine and I decided on 12".

So I figured this would be a very quick project...I measured and cut my pieces then determined I had to take into account the added lengths of the connecting pieces.  This is easy to calculate until you take into account edge C, where the added lengths come at a 45 degree.  I'm sure there is a carpenter reading this now and laughing at how simple this is and the fact that I am figuring it out all alone.  Laugh away.

So I had to sit down and draw this so it made sense in my mind.  At this point I could see already that the pieces were not fitting together very well at all, the angles were off.  Or were my edges not precisely cut and that threw things off? So I switched to metric so I could measure in millimeters (I am more comfortable in metric anyways due to my occupation) and I grabbed a protractor to check my cut angles.  They were off! So then I tried to fix that with a belt sander and coping saw.


After many cuts, I finally got pieces that fit together, at least well enough that I knew the screws would pull things together.  But pocket holes on stock this small, plus the angles made that tough.  I looked at my options and selected what seemed to be best and went to work.  Finally - I had one side.  Now to make another.

A short time later, that was done.  Now what? I didn't know.  Again, I can't draw in 3D so it is tough to have a 'plan', I just dream it then try to execute it.  So I had to attach the two sides somehow, at a width of at least 13" to accommodate LPs and their bags.  So the thing that made the most sense was to put a beam across the back, down low.  But I had pocket holes down there connecting the edges of my triangle.  So I did it mid way up the back and figured I'd come up with something after that.

Then I was stuck.  Really stuck.  I couldn't figure what to do next and I've never been stuck this bad before.  For starters, my crate needed a bottom and I have become fond of NOT using a piece of plywood for this.  I do not want any of my four crates to use anything but 1x_ stock and I'm not about to change now.  But what the hell would I attach it to? I have 1x8 and 1x6 but how do I connect it.

After much deliberation, I cut my bottom and then carefully put a 45 degree on the front of it to match the angle of the front of my crate (the lower angle on both triangles).  I cut it a little longer than I needed and figured I'd clean it up later.  The crate also needed a 'lip' to hold the records when they are leaning backwards. So I first cut a piece that went across the whole front, and I used nails to attach it (2 on each side).  But it was really ugly to have the exposed edges of the stock so I got mad and tore it off.

Then I figured I could attach a lip to this bottom piece, but alas, yes then it too would need to have its bottom cut on a 45 or at least roughed off with a belt sander so it would sit flush on whatever surface it is perched upon.  I started with the belt sander but determined it would take a long time so again I used the sawzall to cut (rip, actually) a 45 off the bottom edge.  I experimented with a few different width 'lips', at first considering a really narrow one (~5") thinking that is more than enough to hold the records back, then I decided to do full width and cut it a little over so it would be tight.  No way to use pocket screws for this, so I bored a screw in from each edge to secure it.  This would haunt me later.

Now all I needed to do is to attach the crate bottom to the back beam.  This was easily done with a short piece of stock and pocket holes on both sides to secure.  This was when I realized that I had forgotten to trim the back of the crate bottom off, which was jutting out of the back.  I tried a few methods to trim it off until I used the sawzall carefully (and dangerously) and cut it off, then sanded it flat.

The next morning I was disgusted with use of screws on the outside of the crate and I realized that with the tight fit, this was a great application for nails.  So I removed the screws and bashed in two nails on each side.

In the end, this is more of a work of art than a functional record bin, but I don't really need anymore record bins anyway.  This is free/salvaged stock and it isn't just general use pine (I can smell when I cut it, it's something fancy) so I am not going to finish it with paint or stain or anything at all.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Garage Sale, Addison

Nothing better than waking up Saturday morning and checking your phone in bed and seeing on that there is a garage sale with records you can bike to that morning.

Unless it's raining.

And you have to suddenly go to work.

When all that was done I drove over there and found some major confusion on the map regarding the location, as this street starts and stops in a couple different towns.  After many episodes of pulling over and checking the map, I finally saw the rain soaked sign and knew I was close.

The garage was packed with stuff, laid out on tables and I saw the records in the back.  They were crammed in a couple boxes and a bunch had been damaged as a result of leaning on each other, I don't see this happen to this degree even in thrift stores very often.  Some others were tragically water damaged.  Almost grabbed a nice 70s comp but passed.  Finally settled on a mid 80s reissue in really nice condition, which was even more remarkable considering how tore up many of these were.  This may be one of the last garage sales of the year so I'm glad I came across such interesting stuff and was able to scoop something.

This gem was even autographed - three copies have sold for over $40 on discogs, should have grabbed it.