Iconic and Inexpensive Argus C3 Rangefinder

Next up in puppet fantasyland will be cameras. Yesterday’s train station photo shoot yielded more good photos than I expected, so using a puppet theatre as a still life photography “stage” is working out great.

Fun fact – I’m having fun trying to compose songs using the Lap Steel. I don’t play it the same as Country players play it. The same goes for Mandolin and Violin – I don’t play bluegrass style. I do respect any style of music with good playing.

Stay tuned for Cameraland.

All Aboard!

You Could Even Say They Glow

The Newton Train Station is ready for a photo shoot – which will happen tomorrow.

The Klown Family

Today’s song was written first using the mandolin and was a lot of fun and fell together quickly.

Having a great 4th of July. Not doing anything special, (well, art, music and cycling are always very special).

Homeward Bound

July 4 Weekend Will Complete This

I’ve had a great two first weeks on the new job. It’s everything I’d hope for – actually even a bit better, if that’s possible.

Todays song is a bit drone, dirge and full of melancholy because it was written in a minor key. I’ll have to share how I came up with this – its a totally new way for me as far as writing a song. Every now and then I like to break out of the “3 minute pop song mold”. Its just a little experiment, but these experiments are how I learn and improve . . .

I did write some lyrics to match the tone. Its a reflection on how that bastard crook Dump family almost ruined America, and how for the first time in 4 years I feel great on July 4th. I’m declaring my independence from the Dump Crime Family – as their business has been indicted, and as each slimeball in that family will get their turn.

Nearing the station
Just around the bend
We thought this trip
Would never end

Justice best served
On an icy cold platter
We didn't forget
That Justice Matters

Flying the flag
High in the 4th of July
America survived
The evil ex guy


We The People
Demand our country
Be fascism free

Let this be the funeral dirge for a dead and decaying Dump Crime Family Business. This is the icing on the cake after that scam bag lost the election.

Introducing The Orchard Demo Tape Project

Circa 2002: Leica’s Inexpensive Digilux-1 Camera

I’ve decided to change the name of this blog to match its main purpose, and be as direct as possible. I’m curious to see if it might attract more readers. Kabarett 391, with its nod to my love of all things Dada is probably too abstract and obscure.

My main goal for this blog has been to showcase my music, assemblage art and photography. I had intended on adding video of puppet’s and puppet theatre, but having them at rest and at ease amongst assemblage (miniature) pieces I build is what stuck. I love that serendipity – its answers the question, “What do puppets do in their time off?”.

I also realize that my #1 goal is to try to write a song a day. I think I average 3 a week, and that is fine by me. It means the songs would be ready to bring to band practice and see if the band wants to shape and mold into something worth putting on a record. (My 30 year old son is into vinyl so its cool that I can even use the word record).

The photo today is a 4 megapixel Leica camera they released in 2002, years before they could get into the market with their ridiculously priced cameras. It was made by Panasonic, and it still works with an adapter. The batteries are no longer in production and the three I have are dead.

Anyhow, I should have a new song later today or tomorrow. Stay tuned, and thanks for visiting.

Newton Train Station Progress

Roof and Front painted and Posts installed

I was going to paint the trim and windows, but had too much fun building ladders, a cart and a hand truck, and oh yeah, the Semaphore signal pole. I’ll use painted wooden buttons for the red, yellow and green lenses. That one is close to being done.

Cart, Hand Truck, Two Ladders and the Semaphore

I’ve got a great song cooking in the song oven, so stay tuned.

I’ll need to build some waiting benches, because I have some waiting passenger figurines and train station workers on their way this week.

My Other Guitar is a Mandolin

Eastman MD-815 F Style Tobacco Burst

I love the Mandolin! It took me quite a few months to stop treating it as if it were a mini guitar. Its tuning is similar to a violin (D G A E), where a guitar is (E A D G B E). The Lap Steel is completely in a world of its own. I finally realized it’s tight strings and percussive effect is more like a piano, then the Mandolin opened up for me.

I also removed the pickup that the music company in Missouri added for free. It sounds much better when miking it. It’s a very acoustic instrument, another departure from electric guitar.

A Style Mandolin

Finally, while it seemed crazy a year ago that I was trying to learn and play 7 different instruments, that idea seems brilliant today. I’m so glad that it wasn’t just an expensive whim, but a great strategy. I have found the defence against writers block, which is a good part of the reason why I stopped writing songs and playing music way back in the 80’s.

Speaking of the 80’s – check out my “homage” to Kraftwerk in this song – I stumbled on it via the Arturia V Collection – where they have an awesome Buchla Easel soft synth emulator – and a patch that is exactly like Kraftwerks. I never ever would have thought a Mandolin composition would meld with Kraftwerk.

I’ll take it!


Sometimes You Feel Grounded, Sometimes Flying

Yesterday I decided to start writing a song using the Lap Steel, and I accidentally stumbled on a way to strum the strings while “dropping” the steel on the strings. The drop was a light handed drop – in fact I tried to make it smooth, but that will take a lot more practice. (The “steel” is the metal bar that lap and pedal steel players use to barre the strings -barre as in barre chord). On top of that, I also accidentally switched the amp (I have a Fender Mustang GTX Modeling amp – which I absolutely love) to “Loud as Leeds” – which if I remember right was the Who playing at Leeds in the 70’s – “Live at Leeds”- obviously with insanely loud amps. Two “happy accidents” in one song was real luck.

Anyhoo, the bass part was recorded next – and I couldn’t “hog” the song – I prevented going down that rabbit hole – like I did on (especially) that last song. It was great to have some “restraint”, and I wrote a really simple and slow part on the bass. It still is way busier than a year ago – when I could barely keep up with chord changes and follow along with simple single notes.

I’m pleased with this one – its a mellow vibe with some intensity, and even the crap shoot noise added at the end is interesting – something to ponder for future songs. Feedback and noise – when used judiciously cn be a great thing indeed.

Railroad Semaphore

Danville Station Semaphore

Today we had a great bike ride to Danville – 35 miles round trip. We rode along the Lafayette – Moraga rails to trails path, which was the Sacramento Northern track.

Summer Solstice Sun and Semaphore

We also rode along the Ironhorse rail to trail line from Alamo to Danville. The Danville Train Depot did not disappoint. The Semaphore, luggage carts and an antique hand truck were awesome and will be super helpful as I build miniatures.

Chief Broadcast Engineer

Chief Engineers

Radio Transmitter Engineers are becoming a thing of the past. It seems like a career choice few would make in today’s Internet Age. I can’t even imagine my kids generation even knowing that this is a career choice.

Of course, in my world, I get to make believe that Radio Broadcasting is the next big thing. Call me an old soul stuck in the 1920’s …

Cod Peace Head

Full Stage with Transmitter, Engineers, Audience and Performers
On The Air!
Engineers Have It Under Control
KLAM at 1500 Watts
KLAM Live!
Big Mouth at the Mic

Kiss the KLAM
The Live Studio Audience

To commemorate the (almost) beginning of summer, I offer you Cod Peace Head Broadcasting’s Summer Beach Spectacular. Cod Peace Head, located on the quaint Maine coast in the imaginary seaside hamlet with its peaceful beach and great fishing.

Everything about Cod Peace Head is imaginary – from the “Song Ideas” to the characters, to the olde tyme radio broadcasts and call letters.

The silly double entendres are free, but believe me, I just wasted a minute or three of your valuable time!