#1063: Life is Like a Lake

RECORD STORE TALES #1063: Life is Like a Lake

Over the course of 51 years on the shores of Lake Huron, I have witnessed the power of nature and the change it brings every season.  Change is the one constant in life, isn’t it?  For better or worse, everything changes.  Nothing can remain static.  Things wear and decay, and are eventually replaced by newer, younger things.  This is obvious every spring on the shores of Huron.  The coast changes, the rocks, the trees, everything.  In a way, life is like a lake.

When we returned this spring, much had changed.  The seasons are unrelenting.  We found several large rocks, freshly cracked, and sharp like blades.  Over the summer and fall, water found its way through microscopic cracks in the stones.  Over winter, it froze and expanded, breaking rocks clean in half.  The remnants are like ancient stone cutting tools, sharp and jagged.  In a way, that’s parallel with relationships.  Sometimes things set in, year after year, until they eventually expand and crack the relationship in two.  I’ve experienced this recently.  The edges that cut are still painful.

Things die over the winter.  Some young trees do not survive.  Older ones fall, only to become firewood for the coming year.  Just like life, and the losses we experience more and more as we get older.  It never gets easier.  It’s a matter of picking up the pieces are carrying on.

The only constant at the lake is change.  Eternal change.  This is especially obvious when you look back at old photographs.  The lake levels change, the beach is covered with rocks one year, and sand the next.  The changes cannot be predicted, except that the land will change.  Where men once pushed the forest and weeds back, now they encroach again when left untended.  It’s quite amazing how quickly nature can retake a patch of land left untouched.  Just like life.  Neglect an aspect of your life, be it physical or mental, and you will notice the difference.  Life must be worked, at constantly, or you will lose what you gained.

Some years, there is more life than others.  Some years, wild turkeys.  Other years, foxes.  Perhaps the foxes scared away the turkeys.  Once in a while we’ll have a dear, or a bear.  Raccoons, porcupines and skunks are common.  When the animals disappear, you can only guess as to why.  Kind of like being “ghosted” in life.  Sometimes they return unexpectedly.  Always a delight.  Like a friend returning after a long absence.

One thing that is clear at the lake:  You cannot return to the past.  The past is gone, like the ghost of a memory.  Things only move forwards, not backwards.  The massive winter ice sheets we used to get are gone now, likely never to return in my lifetime.  The rivers carve away the landscape, leaving different shapes.  The cliffs we used to walk as kids no longer exist, or are now on inaccessible private property, built over and paved.  There is no return.  Those things are gone.

And that’s life in a nutshell.







#1055: Sex Sells (But Fur Sells Better)

RECORD STORE TALES #1055: Sex Sells (But Fur Sells Better)

Long story “short”:

Recently, Deke started getting decent views on his YouTube Shorts.  I think the idea originated within the Community from Brent Jensen, who likes to make short clips from the highlights of his Thursday Night Record Club videos.  So Deke tried it, and had some success.  Jex Russell said to me, “Hey man, you should try YouTube Shorts too!”

Sounds good!  But how?  I asked Deke, and he advised me to check out some Google tutorials as that could explain it better.  I stumbled through it, and eventually got some videos to work.

I started with a couple shorts.  Like Deke, I chose highlights from the live Grab A Stack of Rock shows.  I chose two to start:  both with my co-host MarriedAndHeels showing off her shoes.  Let’s face it:  even though the videos were not “adult”*, sex still sells and heels are sexy.  I had some moderate success.  I was excited to get a few hundred views on each.  I kept going!  I uploaded an Alice Cooper clip from MuchMusic to my Youtube Shorts, got a couple hundred more views.

Then a MarriedAndHeels video of her lovely Easter manicure went crazy and broke 1800 views!  I knew I was onto something!  A video of her hot T-strap heels got similar views.

I have a tricky problem.  It’s the same problem I have here on WordPress:  No direction.  I started out talking music, but that got stale (and the hits dried up).  I decided to cover toys, games, soda pop, nature, and of course, high heels too.  So there’s no actual direction.  Nothing for a subscriber to latch onto and say “I like this channel”.  But that is my problem, a self-made problem.  I like lots of different content myself, and there’s no point in starting multiple channels.  So this is the bed that I made.

Here’s what I didn’t expect.

It is true that I wanted to exploit heels for views, and it definitely works.  MarriedAndHeels gets five times as many views when she’s on Grab A Stack of Rock than any other guest.  She gets double the views of any rock star I’ve interviewed.  The only guest who ever got more views than her is Martin Popoff.  So, yeah.  I cynically said “Let’s get the Instagram Queen of Heels on the show and see what happens.”  But, on the other side, she is truly a friend, and one who I wanted to work with creatively since the day we met.  I’ve been wanting to get her on the show since last summer, because I knew we would be great together.  And I was right.  I don’t even fully understand why she thinks I’m cool or wants to be on my show, but I’m learning to just accept it without the questions.  The fact is, we are a great creative team.  Everybody thinks so.  People who don’t even care about the heels, enjoy watching us chat.  So that was successful from an artistic point of view, not to mention the friendship.   The numbers are a nice bonus.

But I found something that sells even better than sexy nails and heels.

I uploaded a chipmunk.  That got 2000 views.  I uploaded another.  That got 3000 views.  Then, a raccoon.  2000 more views!

Sex sells – but furry critters sell even more!

Good thing summer is coming!  There will be lots and lots of cottage critters to upload to YouTube Shorts, and lots more heels with my friend.  I’ve probably made a total of about 10 cents from all these videos, but everything adds up!

YouTube is tricky, and you have to constantly feed it new content or everything dries up.  With the help of several furry friends, and one in high heels, this will hopefully be easy to do this summer!


* On every MarriedAndHeels short, YouTube flagged them as adult content even though nothing was adult.  I won every review.


Part 71/ REVIEW: Pink Floyd – Shine On (9 disc box set)

Shine On came out in ’92, I got my copy 11 years later.  First, the story of how I acquired this exceptional copy, and then the review!



I still have the receipt:  I paid $199.99 on February 12 2003.  New, it’s going for about $440 on these days.  I paid a lot, that is true; we did not get staff discounts on big ticket things such as this.  However, when I encountered Shine On that day, I’d never seen one in better shape.

The hardcover book, containing 110 large pages of text, photos, artwork and credits, was still sealed in plastic.  Nobody had even bothered to open it.  The eight artwork post cards were intact in the black envelope.  The little black fold-out display box was still folded, and remains so to this day.  It’s a very nice touch but I prefer to keep mine as I found it.

The discs, each housed in its own shiny black plastic case, are all mint.  Maybe some were never played before I got hold of it.  The cases are also nearly spotless.  Most of the time, the biggest defect with used copies of this set were broken cases.  Each case was unique:  The front of the case had a small image of the album, and the spine of the case had a piece of a rainbow embossed.  Put all 8 CD cases together in the correct order and you get an image of the Dark Side prism effect.  That’s why the set comes with that little cardboard display – in case you felt like showing them off this way.

Lastly, the bonus CD, The Early Singles, is intact.  A set in this condition was a rarity and I’d never seen better.  Over the years, every set I encountered had a defect of some kind, major or minor:

  • The bonus CD would be missing
  • One or more discs badly scratched
  • One or more cases badly broken
  • One or more postcards or pieces missing
  • The box itself would sometimes be missing and all you’d get is the discs with the little display case
  • Or, just the book would be missing
  • Once, the book was warped and damaged from excessive moisture

You can see why I jumped at the chance.  A box of this condition, used, well that could not be passed up. Likely I’d never see one again that wasn’t sealed brand new — but as a deleted catalogue item, new copies were upwards of $300 at the time.

So, no staff discount?  No problem.  VISA to the rescue.

A $200 sale was a good chunk of my daily quota.  Head office was in the habit of calling at 5 and checking the sales for the day so far.  I read mine off, which was high obviously, but didn’t say why it was high.

“Wow!  Good for you Mikey!  You’ve been busy, keep it up.”

“Yeah, well, it’s been a good day y’know,” I responded.  May as well take the credit for it too, right, hell it was my money.

I was dating Radio Statio Girl at the time.  However I was already starting to get cynical about our prospects, having been dumped once already by this time.  Our second go-round was pleasant but a bit tense.  I was supposed to drive down to her place that night, but I decided to spend the evening with Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright, and Nick Mason instead.

I called.  “Yeah, hey.  I’m not feeling well at all.  I think I’m going to puke.”

Considering the much bigger lies she tossed my way before and after, I thought my little white lie was pretty innocuous.  Especially when I was immersed in Meddle for the first time ever!

PINK FLOYD – Shine On (9 disc box set) (1992)

At the time of release, this was probably the coolest way to get some of the best Floyd discs.  Now with Immersion Editions, Why Pink Floyd…?, fresh remasters, and 5.1 mixes all available, this seems pretty basic.  Indeed, all albums are simple 1992-ish remasterings, no bonus material aside from the afforementioned The Early Singles disc.  And just FYI, you can often find that disc on its own.  Somehow it got separated from a lot of Shine On box sets.

As I described in my story above, the box’s contents are elaborate and fragile, and difficult to find complete.  This is a heavy, heavy box too — not exactly portable.  I find the remastering to be fine, it was 1992 and it’s probably not as loud as more current editions.  Picky audiophiles, I have no idea which you will prefer.

The albums included are as follows:

Disc 1: A Saucerful of Secrets

Disc 2: Meddle

Disc 3: The Dark Side of the Moon

Disc 4: Wish You Were Here

Disc 5: Animals

Disc 6: The Wall part one

Disc 7: The Wall part two

Disc 8: A Momentary Lapse of Reason

Disc 9: The Early Singles

So you’ll notice right away that there are some important albums missing.  Sure, you can understand why albums like Atom Heart Mother or Obscurred by Clouds were not included in a (merely) 9 disc Floyd box set, if the purpose was to boil it down to essentials.  I think it’s a shame that The Final Cut, one of my favourites, is not inside.  I would have preferred that or Piper at the Gates of Dawn to A Momentary Lapse I think.

The real bonuses to this set are twofold:  The book and The Early Singles.


I don’t know what the current status of these single A and B sides are, in regards to current CD releases.  I know the Piper three disc set has some of these tracks.  But here’s the contents of The Early Singles:

  1. Arnold Layne
  2. Candy and a Currant Bun
  3. See Emily Play
  4. The Scarecrow
  5. Apples and Oranges
  6. Paintbox
  7. It Would Be So Nice
  8. Julia Dream
  9. Point Me At the Sky
  10. Careful With That Axe, Eugene

There are no liner notes with this disc.  I believe all tracks are stereo mixes.

The book is absolutely stunning and will take days to read.  There are extensive interviews from magazine sources, lyrics, liner notes, a nice discography, and loads of old reviews both gushing and nasty.  There’s plenty of artwork and photos to look at, too.

I won’t go too deeply into the music.  Reviewing these albums each on their own would be a monumental task.  Suffice to say that there is much brilliance within.  I think both Dark Side and The Wall are complete triumphs while Meddle and Animals come very very close to that level.  There is much to love here, and much that will take many listens to penetrate.

As a set, this is not perfect and I think the biggest flaw is the selection of albums.  Having said that, for a collector who wants a beautiful deluxe collector’s item, this is easily a:

4/5 stars.

For people who would rather have something with more music on it, you’re better off going with some of the more recent reissues.