Andy Whitman tagged Martin Stillion.

Martin Stillion tagged me.

My turn, I guess.

Okay, here goes…

Four jobs I’ve had

I was Babysitter for a family with five rowdy boys and a German shepherd who thought I was the enemy. The boys’ favorite game was launching matchbox cars at the living room window by setting them on the head-rest of a La-Z Boy, then jumping on the extended footrest. They had locks on the outside of their bedroom doors. But if you locked them in, they just climbed out the window and ran off down the street. Oh, their last name was Brain.

I was Video Store Guy at Rain City Video on Nickerson Street in Seattle, before it moved to the Fremont neighborhood. My friend Matt Lenhard liked to sneak in and put pornos on the “Staff Picks” shelf that had my name on it. I loved that job. Folks from the neighborhood would come in and say, “What am I watching tonight that I’ve never heard of?” and I’d say, “Hmmm… I think you’re going to watch One False Move with Bill Paxton!” I was always right, and they’d ask again the next night.

Photoshop Artist of Natural Disasters: Working as the editor of the department newsletter for the City of Seattle’s Department of Design, Construction and Land Use, I was asked to use Photoshop to create dramatic images demonstrating what it would look like if Seattle’s downtown viaduct collapsed in an earthquake. It’s a very real, and terrifying, possibility. I spent weeks grimly illustrating a collapsing, three-layer freeway with trucks tumbling off, pedestrians crushed by rubble, and explosions of dust and debris, while water from the Sound flooded in around the ferry terminals.

Head Housekeeper at a Coastline Fort. At Camp Casey, a property owned by Seattle Pacific that is half of the historic Fort Casey on Whidbey Island, I spent a summer cleaning those fantastic old officer’s houses, and the barracks in which the soldiers once slept. The beachfront property is still my favorite place to go on vacation. It’s beautiful, whether you’re on the beach or in the woods that begin on either end of the property. The place is crawling with wildlife, from owls to rabbits to deer to bald eagles. I didn’t mind cleaning campsite toilets one bit, just for the privilege of living there a while.


Four TV shows I’m watching

I don’t have time to watch TV shows when they actually air. So I watch TV on DVD as time permits, which is rarely.

Battlestar Galactica, on DVD.

Twin Peaks (again), on DVD.

The new TV version of Sense and Sensibility as soon as I get a chance.

Bones, because my wife is a fan and she’s going through two or three episodes a day on DVD.


Four places I’ve been.

Salt Creek, a quiet and meditative place where God wanders through the tumbleweeds and marvels at the remains of foxes and the tracks of roadrunners.

In the front row of U2, Elevation, on Easter Sunday 2001.

The tombstone of J.R.R. Tolkien, not long after sitting at a table at The Eagle and Child.

In a room with the cast, director, screenwriters, and composer for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King for more than five hours of interviews.


Four musical artists I’m listening to

Sam Phillips – Don’t Do Anything. No, I’m not disappointed. Yes, it’s everything I hoped for. No, the music doesn’t hurt at all for lack of T-Bone Burnett. (But oh, yeah, he’s there, haunting the record.)

Radiohead – In Rainbows. No, I’m not tired of it. Yes, it’s that good.

Allison Moorer – Mockingbird. Sexiest record of ’08 so far. Should have been billed as Allison Moorer and Buddy Miller.

I was going to say R.E.M. – Accelerate – which is an improvement after the disastrous last record. But no, it’s not doing anything for me. Nothing at all. So instead I’ll put in a plug for the gorgeous, sensual new record by Lizz Wright – The Orchard. And next on my list: New albums by Tift Merritt and Son Lux.

So, who do I tag? Hmmmm. Opus? Sara Zarr?