Sears Silvertone Record Console


Thrift store shopping with the fam last night, and ran across an old-school record player console.  The first thing I thought when I saw it, was “What a Piece of Shit!”.

Silvertone 1

Before I could realize that I shouldn’t be cussing in a public post I was whisked away to my grandmother’s living room in Lawrence, Kansas.  Set the scene: my grandfather’s pipe smoke wafting from the pores of the ancient wood; the ultra creepy painting hanging in the haunted under lit space, the sound of the Royals losing another 100 games.  Halcyon memories win!  This was not only vintage furniture from my past, but maybe it could be reworked into a centerpiece item in our new house.  Giddy like my kids on a sugar high, I fast walked through Goodwill to find Jessi, knowing before I got there she’d poo poo the idea.  But I would not be deterred.

Fast forward, like, 30 seconds.

Jessi, “Holy Shit that’s cool!”

Me: “Keep it clean hon, this is a public post.”

Jessi, “You should get it.  I could sand it and you could rebuild the components on the inside, we could….”

Me: feeling overwhelmed by her concurrence and the sheer amount of work it would be, I back pedaled,  “Whoa whoa whoa.  Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.”

Jessi, “Do it.  Buy it.”

Me: “Well, that went as planned, and the saying ‘be careful what you wish for’ comes to mind.”

Jessi, “Are you talking to yourself again?  Are you making dialog up just for your blog.  The one you haven’t written in for like over a year?”

She got me.

Silvertone 2

Before moving on, I must point out one thing.  My wife, Jessi, is frigging awesome when it comes to driving a hard deal.  I’m asking the guy to write-up the ticket for the sale, when Jessie throws me a stern look, not unlike a school teacher visually threatening a misbehaving student, and gives me the thumbs down sign.  I quickly understand she’s not giving me reprieve from the task of actually buying and finishing this thing, but she’s telling me to negotiate.  Get the price down.  The damn thing was only $35 in the first place, but Jessi was Jessi, and I love her for it, so I asked, “Uh, excuse me sir, can we uh, do anything about the price?”  My voice cracked like a preteen calling his crush.

Jessi had given the sales person the same threatening glare, and he quickly melted to the same prepubescent state of mind.  His voice, equally creaky, never taking his eyes off of my wife, “Uh, yes sir, how about…..” he pauses considering his mortality, “Twenty dollars?”  His voice rises an octave accentuating how unsure he is of his offer.  Jessi’s gaze seems to intensify, “NINETEEN NINETY NINE!” he yells.  Jessi smiles, and the sales person and I fall into nearby chairs thankful to be alive.

So here’s the rub.

Silvertone 3

I assumed there would be millions of blogs, and pins, and articles on how people have already done this.  There would be step by step guides, and pictures, and the right components, and shib, probably even replacement parts by some hippie in San Francisco.  But I haven’t seen the plethora of ideas and instructions and parts I thought I would, so, I’m kinda starting from scratch.  So, in an attempt to be criticized by anyone who actually knows style, woodwork, electronics, etc, I’m going to blog the progress of restoring this bad boy.  That way the next person whose wife talks him into following one of his crazy ideas can show her my brutal failure, and maybe get a pardon.

I’ll see you out West…




Wait, What?

Wait What

So, I think we’re going to do this.

Like really going to do this.

After a whole 20 hours of deep thinking, tons of speculation and conjecture, a few obscene tirades, and way too much internet, we’re all in.  Jessie, Tigger, and Little Miss Manners agreed to do it.

More to come.

d.2. oban

Depth of Feeling

Ode to Robert Frost

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening is one of my favorite poems.  There is a sense of loneliness captured in those four stanzas that capture a lifetime of living.  Most of the poetry I’ve written doesn’t necessarily rhyme or follow a pattern.  But I’m so impressed with Frost’s ability to express so much within those confines, I had to try it.

Honestly, I don’t like what I’ve produced.  But I wanted to throw it out there and get some constructive criticism from those who are smarter than I am.  So please send me you criticism.  Positive, negative, indifferent.  I’d appreciate anything.

d. 2. oban


My Spirit Animal

It was a cold morning in the desert.  Riding my bike to the bus stop, my brain was churning to keep warm.  In a minor creative flash during general ruminations about things I can never change, I worked through the algorithm to describe myself as an animal. This animal may or may not come up in future posts.  Anyway, I came up with a dinosaur as the best way to describe myself.  My perception of dinosaurs is entirely based on Jurassic Park, and so to paleontologists who are following, I’m sorry.

The dinosaur says many things about me.  What I wanted it to say was that I was primitive, could only think of things in terms of absolutes, and could only see objects if they were moving.  Jessi, EnergyBall and Little Miss Manners would also agree on this as my spirit animal, but more because it’s a reflection of the speed I drive, how loud I yell, and my ability to use technology (if anything on this site looks good, it’s all Jessi, I couldn’t even log on this morning).

Poe-tae-toe, Poe-tah-toe.



Black and white, that’s how I see the world. But maybe there’s something in between?

Deuxiemepeau; Picturing Poetry by Damien B. Donnelly

black and white
there are a thousand shades of grey

life and death
there are a million things to say

I love you
and I love you not

there is more than just hunger and hate


we are hungry
we eat (more than we should)
and then we hate

you smiled at me
in a sea of sadness I’d grown tired of
a blonde in a season of darker tones
and the distraction deluded me

                            from the truth

are we always alone,
even when we are together?

I held his hand in a taxi
while thinking of another
not yours, not his, but another

I lay in your arms at night
as you lied in mine, behind the light

between laying and lying
there exists a world of truth and disguise

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My Heart has become Homeless


I watch the homeless man watch the woman

His face half covered, like a vicious mockery of a masquerade mask,

by the greasy stained hood of the once maroon sweatshirt.

The lone eye peaking out, staring at the serrated and mechanical run

of the 40 year old woman, and her dog.

I can read his thoughts:

she eats so much food she has to run, she’s wearing workout clothes because she has workout clothes, she has a dog that she can take care of, that dog eats better than i do.

I hate the woman too, as I ride by on my Giant mountain bike.

without another thought for the homeless man on the bus bench

I’m blessed to be able to ride my bike over lunch for exercise.  Today over lunch I passed a man who appeared to be living on the streets.  This reminded of when I was in grade school and my folks took me into the city for a parade.  While driving through the city streets looking for a place to park, I saw my first homeless person, digging through the garbage, looking for food.  I remember crying, and my parents asking me what was wrong.  After I told them, they kept driving.  Today, after I saw the man I thought living on the streets, I kept riding.

For a portion of my life I’ve felt like I’ve had a heart for the homeless.  So much so that sometimes I would even tell my wife that I was going to help the homeless.  Or told myself that I had dreams of starting a homeless shelter.  I used to feel pangs of guilt and regret when I’d pass a someone on the entrance to the highway, asking for handouts.  I used to.

Somewhere along the way, I started to give up.  I made excuses.  I stopped making eye contact with them on the side of the road, and I generally stopped caring.  I wouldn’t even tell myself that I wanted to help.  I just didn’t.  I don’t know where I went wrong.  I tried all sorts of ways to justify it, or explain it away, or tell myself I’ll care about the homeless when I’m older and don’t have so many family responsibilities.  But the truth is, I lost my way, if I ever had it. Has anyone who is fortunate enough to have a blog or read a blog figured it out?  Is there a way to make caring for the homeless in a tangible way while supporting a family and pretending that writing is more important that helping those who have nothing?  Or have any of you been able to successfully tell yourself that it doesn’t matter?  There’s no social change embedded in this post.  There is only sad self reflection, and guilt.

d. 2. oban

Update – Amazing how this works.  Ran across this article this morning.  ‘The Science of Evil’.  Simon Baron-Cohen calls this empathy erosion, where humans are turned into objects

Fresh, new, a little scarred, but who cares


It was never a nice table.  But it was all we could afford, and it was what we wanted.  So for a few years it was our nice table.  And that was good.  Then the ball of energy that has occupied my 6 year old wondered what the texture would be like if she took a ball peen hammer to it’s surface.  I don’t know where she got the ball peen hammer, I mean does anyone really have a ball peen hammer just lying around?  I don’t, but somehow, Ball of Energy found one.  And despite my initial anger, the texture was pretty cool.

And it all went downhill from there.

My wife, Jessi, is an artist.  And god bless her, she’s imparted that love for things that are beautiful, and dark, and entirely unable to be adequately described by my finite vocabulary, to our children.  So projects that were initially performed on the sterile surface of butcher paper and a layer of newspaper that was too good for recycling, began to creep out onto the raw and fragile table.  And as the EnergyBall got more and more passionate, and the AngerBall got more and more frustrated with the flaws in her art, the table took more and more of a whipping boy role, and finally, the role of the ultimate canvas.

Now our table proudly wears these scars.  I imagine it sitting around with other tables, quietly listening to their tales of butter knifes gone awry, and spilled glasses of wine, and then my table pulling up it’s table cloth, a la Quint, the old codger from Jaws.

Our table wears the paint like a biker wears his tattoos.  They define who it is, where it’s been, and dammit it aint putting up with any of you grey poupon, freixenet cordon negro, cloth napkin bull larkey (sorry AngerBall and EnergyBall may read this so I’m keeping it PG-13).  And that is a reflection of our family.  And a reflection of where I am right now.

A lot of what I’m doing is new to me.  The road I’m going down is not clear to me.  I’m a new person with a blank canvas, but because of where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, and the lack of cloth napkins, there’s a little wear on me.  I can’t be fresh and open minded, or even a little innocent.  And like our table, that’s OK.  I’m going to wear those scars, and not be afraid.  If I say something that’s self serving, maybe there’s a reason for it.  And if I do something rude or completely stupid, it could just be because of the ball peen dents on the back of my head.  And if you’re lucky enough to be invited to our house for dinner, don’t look at our table and judge.  There’s a lot of love and brilliance that has been created there.

We have dreams of getting a new dining room table, to go with the cloth napkins that we got for our wedding.  And though it’s not in the budget now, we’ve agreed that when a new table joins the fray, we’re keeping this table.  Not only for a place to do art (and protect the new table from EnergyBall – She’ll still have to eat dinner at the art table) but also as an homage to the passion, creativity, compassion, and love that our family has.

d. 2. oban

Damn Skinny Bop

It’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  I’ve been freed from the oppressive regime of culture and counter culture.  I am free to be anti-social media, spreading chaos and happiness with the stroke of a pen.

As I struggle out of the amniotic fluid and fill my lungs with air, I’m reminded that we’re all short for this world.  And so I’m going to do the best I can with what’s left of my time. Deep.

Keep posted, and I’ll keep posting.

d. 2. oban