Showing posts from July, 2013

Bathroom Elegy

Staring at the unrelenting forgiveness of the shower wall, I stumble into the regrets of the past. Each year ticks off the clock and goals fall underneath the wheels of graduate school and time, slowly slipping towards a reaper with few words and little sympathy. The wall is clean, yet the grout is stained. Dark dirt sleeps in the crack of the shower nozzle. It might hold redemption or just another ray of chlorinated water slipping down the drains of the world. The water circles backwards and forwards, unceasing. Its blues and greens match the eyes of the world's watchers.

Here I am, I think. Another day or week older, another step closer to some goal, another shadow of my former self. The mirror reflects a cracked visage, one a little rounder, a little more grizzled, perhaps, a little wiser. So much time is spent in the bathroom examining and reexamining, warbling long forgotten pop songs. Thinking, thinking, thinking, and more regret. It is here that honesty exists within each o…

Record Collecting Miscellanies: Run Out Groove Messages

Sometimes record engineers, band members, label people, or other unknown individuals will inscribe funny messages or insider jokes on the run-out grooves of records. These spaces near the label of the record are often inscribed with matrix numbers that contain record manufacturing or label information. Dates, pressing number, plant identification, logos, initials, and other information can be gleaned by the avid record fan. These details may reveal when the record was cut, who engineered it, where it was pressed, etc.

The numbers, for instance, usually are different than the catalog number, yet many minor labels print the catalog number and record side in the groove as well -- probably because their pressing runs are smaller. For example, Green Day's Slappy EP has a matrix number of L35573, but also has Lookout 35-A designating the label number scratched into the wax, as well as the initials, D.W.K. Many major label  records have less information, which may refer to the order of th…

Record Collecting Miscellanies: Re-evaluating the Collection via the Byrds

As a vinyl collector, I find myself getting more adventurous every year. Albums I would never have purchased, even five years ago, make it into my stack more and more often. If I find a dusty ol' record that looks interesting, I will buy it without hesitation (especially if I'm paying 5 bucks or less). This is how I managed to own not only most of the Top 40 Fleetwood Mac, but also a sizable collection of prog records by Yes and Rush -- these records get played once and filed as I have still not, nor probably ever will, garner an appreciation for 25 minute songs. Give me sugary 60's pop any day.

Of all the thrift store records I own, the Byrds perhaps get the most play. When I pick through those dusty thrift store bins, brimming with Mitch Miller and Neil Diamond, I always hope to find a Byrds record I don't own. This is surprisingly easy as many people don't respect them enough. All the sappy David Crosby songs and missteps in the later years have turned people off…