Review – New Ikea Seattle Store, Renton

Ikea’s brand new store in Renton falls into the “Why did they need to build a new one?” category. If Asbestos Ridge Elementary becomes overcrowded as new housing developments pop up students are lucky if a few new portables are put up. And, as a thirty five year old, I remember how big of a deal it was when this Ikea was built when I was in middle school. This wasn’t, like Greenwood Fred Meyer, some place that had been constructed some years before I was born and updated on occasion.

In any event, the new Ikea is in business, and the old one next door will soon become a parking garage. For the time being the inconvenient shuttle service and limited parking is still in effect.

From the outside, the two-story, solar-paneled new Ikea is certainly from a new era. While the blue and yellow Swedes boasted something to the effect of “we are building a giant nondescript box in the suburbs to keep prices down” in the early-to-mid 90s when our Ikea popped up in suburban Renton, twenty-some years later, gentrification has caused Renton to feel more and more like Seattle, and thus the new Ikea has a decidedly more “urban” look to it. Unlike the old Ikea, the new Ikea, which features quite a bit more yellow than the old one (and a lot more windows), makes a point of looking good from the outside.

On the inside, customers are greeted by sort of a grand entry with an escalator leading up to the showroom and restaurant. The restaurant can be accessed either right away, or at the end of the showroom maze. (The old restaurant was mid-way through the maze, and while it could be accessed by taking a few shortcuts, the intention was clearly for restaurant visits to be post-showroom.)

The showroom is much whiter than the old one. Much of it features a white wooden floor. The floor often feels like it’s shaking. I don’t know if this is a product of being on a second story or the new building being of cheaper construction than the old one. I do not have a map of either the old or new store to verify, but while the old store had more of a “zig-zag” feeling layout, the new one feels more circular. Each section feels wider and more open. The showroom does not feel like it takes as long to get through as the old one. Some sections felt larger and some felt smaller. The office section in particular seemed almost like it was missing. There are more appliances than there used to be. At some point the wooden floor disappears and is replaced by concrete more reminiscent of the previous store.

We did not eat at the restaurant today, but it is much larger, brighter (many windows), and overall nicer feeling than the old one. It feels sort of like the commons era at a brand new community college. It seems like a pleasant place to be. I could comfortably sit there and work on a lap top all day, which is not something I could say about the much darker old restaurant.

As with the old store, after heading through the showroom and through the restaurant, next comes tchotchkes. Except now those are down a flight of stairs, below the showroom and next to the warehouse. As above, some sections (e.g. bathroom stuff) seemed smaller, while others (e.g. lighting) seemed larger. Things more or less continued to feel wider and more circular than in the old store. My wife says she felt like she was walking the wrong direction. (The arrows on the floor confirmed otherwise, but the feeling counts.)

Bathrooms seem to be fewer and further between. I haven’t verified if this is true, but it felt true, which counts for something. There was also no garbage can in the men’s room, so after I changed my son’s diaper I had to go to the family room to through his dirty diaper away. There also seem to be fewer “shortcuts” for folks who choose to not explore the maze in the intended sequence. (I for one always like to experience the store in the intended sequence.)

The warehouse has much deeper, taller (freakishly so) aisles, so it does not take nearly as long to walk through it as in the old store (particularly since the old warehouse was enlarged).

There is still a bistro after the cashiers, and there is an extra refrigerated goods and candy section. Strangely, the previous Coca Cola products (including Mr Pibb and Hi C Orange Lavaburst) are gone, replaced by generic cola, diet cola, and a few non-carbonated beverages like lingonberry drink. These beverages came in what appeared to be a generic cup rather than a blue Ikea cup. Same prices. Apparently the bistro now no longer has meatballs. Meatballs are now only available from the restaurant.

The parking situation won’t be straightened out until the old store is gone, which is understandable, but in many other ways the new store felt incomplete, as if due to a deadline it opened in a not-quite-polished, not-quite-ready state. The office and bathroom sections in particular seemed curiously limited. I asked my wife at some point “Where was the office section?” and we only remembered that there indeed was one because we remember walking past the chairs. Although the new store has a much larger Smaland than the old one, for one reason or another the kid’s room section seemed less like a place we could spend all day than the old one.

Which brings me to the thing that generally feels “not quite right” about the largely nicer, brighter, more pleasant, more open new store as compared to the darker, more claustrophobic old one. I am someone who often feels strangely more comfortable in “cozy” spaces like small irregularly shaped rooms. Although the old Ikea was massive, because of its zig-zagging floor plan of relatively small areas filled with goodied, I felt more immersed in each section. When I was in the couch room I felt fully couchy. When I was in the office section I felt officey. And so on. Each little area sucked me in so successfully that I forgot I was in a big boxy warehouse. Although it is still designed as a single path store to be experienced in a particular sequence, with bigger, more open areas I felt overwhelmed and less settled than I am accustomed to feeling at Ikea. The larger, less carpeted, higher-ceilinged rooms also make for a much louder, more cacophonous sonic ambience, which I do not like. These big open boxes with high ceilings are all the rage these days, and I don’t like it. The folks working at Mod Pizza can hardly hear folks ordering food.

In spite of being a shiny new store, the Seattle Times confirmed what I suspected – that the new store is pretty much the same size as the old store, 399,000 square feet rather than 398,000 square feet, to be exact-ish. As a matter of fact, since the restaurant is much larger than it used to be and there are some extra areas like the front atrium that didn’t previously exist, the remaining store is in fact a bit smaller than the old one. Maybe there really weren’t as many mattresses and it wasn’t just my imagination. Parking will remain about the same.

So this apparently wasn’t about a growing Seattle needing a larger store. This expensive construction project was pretty much just a facelift. I will need to spend some more time in the new store to fairly assess it, as a new store just about always feels “wrong” when compared to an old store, especially since I had been to the old Ikea perhaps a month ago and I have grown to appreciate that, for example, the “new” University Village QFC (ironically built just a year or two after the old Ikea) is a better store than the old one. Hopefully the solar panels will someday offset the environmental cost of unnecessarily demolishing a perfectly good giant building to build another one a quarter of a perfect larger. A-

Reviews – Velveeta Cheese, Follow That Bird

Kraft Velveeta Cheese

Every five years or so I am compelled to buy a package of Velveeta cheese, which is not very tasty and is or was made by a cigarette company, simply because it is “fun” and reminiscent of some kind of more carefree era. The problem with Velveeta pasteurized process cheese product is that it just plain doesn’t taste very good. It lacks any kind of “sharpness” or “edge” and has somewhat of an off-taste that is as pronounced as many vegan cheeses. It wasn’t very tasty in a three cheese grilled cheese sandwich with two other cheeses, and it wasn’t very tasty in a huevodilla. I had to apply a generous serving of Sriracha to mask its off-taste. Since Velveeta is a brand-name product, it isn’t even particularly cheap. I understand the appeal of having an easy-melting cheese for burgers, breakfast sandwiches, and other treats reminiscent of fast food restaurants, low quality diners, and perhaps childhood, and for those times there is a much better option – any brand of American cheese, another processed cheese food product with a similar texture and a sharper taste (and that’s saying something) more reminiscent of cheddar. I find Target’s “Deluxe” American Cheese to be a particularly nice option in this category, but both the store brands and Kraft deliver the goods. Even those reduced fat or “2 percent” varieties or those oddballs that are supposed to taste like cheddar or Swiss without holes are better than this. D

Follow That Bird (Warner Bros., 1985)

Tender yet hilarious, with its message of embracing diversity, good-natured humor, and excellent Van Dyke Parks-led soundtrack, the celebrity cameo-loaded first Sesame Street movie remains a classic. A social worker who is concerned about Big Bird being with his own “kind” finds an adoptive family in the not-very-bright aerobics-obsessed Dodos, whose children happen to be named Donnie and Marie. We become familiar with Oscar’s favorite restaurant, a truck-driving Waylon Jennings, the count’s spectacular ride, Bert and Ernie flying a plane, and plenty of other memorable moments. A+

Reviews – Guided By Voices/Propeller, China Wok

Guided By Voices/Propeller (1992)

I listened to this album on the way home from work the other day and thought, “This relatively loud, untuneful sloppy rock record doesn’t even sound like the same Guided By Voices who made Bee Thousand and such, and what’s with Robert Pollard’s voice? That guy is usually a good singer.” Then I listened to the same record on the same commute again the next day and I thought it was brilliant and clever and catchy. And now it sounds great to me. I guess this is a “second time” record. Main Course by the Bee Gees was like that for me. The first time I listened to it I thought “This is a surprisingly unmemorable record considering that it contains both ‘Nights on Broadway’ and ‘Jive Talking’,” but the next time I heard it it sounded like a masterpiece. And this album is Main Course good. A+

China Wok

This small-to-medium-sized restaurant on Callow in Bremerton is a bit more Americanized than Emperor’s Palace in that the food is saltier, sweeter, and has fewer vegetables than that excellent restaurant, but the menu is varied, the prices are fair, there are plenty of vegetarian options, the service is good, and there are plenty of other reasons to recommend it. However, unless you are craving a certain dish Emperor’s Palace does not offer or find yourself with a hankering for Chinese food when you already happen to be on Callow for whatever reason you may have to be on Callow, Emperor’s Palace is the place to go. A-

Reviews – Dr Pepper, Tom Tom Club, Mariah Carey’s next two records, cheese

Dr Pepper – 9 oz. can

This can gets many things right. It is, of course, full of delicious Dr Pepper-branded brown soda product. It also features a hilarious football-field themed can design. Most importantly, it’s a responsible 9 ounces of serving. This is how much soda used to be in a serving. I believe this is still how much soda is in a serving in places like Japan. Products like this could solve America’s obesity epidemic while still delivering sensational classic Dr Pepper taste. Still, this HFCS-based aluminum can product is not quite as good as cane sugar-sweetened Dublin Dr Pepper in a 9 ounce bottle. By the way, mixed with ketchup this soda makes a pretty good barbecue sauce. It works about as well as Coca Cola. But not as well as sarsaparilla. A

Tom Tom Club/Tom Tom Club (Sire Records, 1981)

This is a good album if you’ve been thinking “I’d like to hear the great Remain In Light-era Frantz-Weymouth rhythm section minus David Byrne with a dose of B-52s style FUN! and Yoko Ono-style weirdness.” As with Remain In Light, long running times combined with loop-based compositions can come across as repetitive, but this is lighter, funner, catchier fare, and the album is gapless, complete with fades between songs. Tina Weymouth is a better MC than Debbie Harry, and “Genius of Love” became one of hip hop’s most samples songs. A+

Mariah Carey/Music Box (Columbia, 1993)

Have you ever heard one of those albums that’s so perfectly crafted and polished that it wouldn’t be at all interesting to listen to except the songs are so well-crafted it’s a blast? This album isn’t one of those. This album is a snore, featuring just about none of the excitement or personality of Mimi’s first couple records. Even the peppy-ish single, “Dreamlover,” isn’t nearly as peppy as “Someday” or “Emotions.” And then there’s “Without You,” written by the top-notch Badfinger team of Pete Ham and Tom Evans. I am a big fan of Badfinger and Harry Nilsson, and I don’t care for either of their versions. Mariah’s version, which is remarkably similar to Nilsson’s, is probably the best of the three, and it’s still a dreadful song. When it comes to classic rock power balladry I’d rather she have covered “You’re the Inspiration” or something. C-

Mariah Carey/Daydream (Columbia, 1995)

After the snooze fest of Music Box Mariah hits it out of the park with this one. “Fantasy” takes “Genius of Love” (see above), and makes the already great song even better. Mariah even directed the iconic amusement park-themed video herself. The wonderful “Under the Stars” is one of those Janet Jackson-level quality “this reminds me of not dancing with girls in middle school” slow ballads, and one of the album’s other signature songs, the stalker-themed slightly En Vogue-ish “Always Be My Baby,” is really, really catchy. If you ever find yourself unable to get “All I Want For Christmas Is You” out of your head, a dose of “Always Be My Baby” will surely do the trick. The only song on the record that doesn’t speak my language, the Boys II Men collaboration “One Sweet Day,” is one of the most successful songs of all time, so it clearly spoke someone else’s language. It’s probably my own fault for being too jaded and cynical to appreciate the “quiet storm” genre. As far as A plusses go this one may be a “low A+,” but it’s still an . . . . A+

Kerrygold Skellig Sweet Cheddar Cheese

Those Irish cheese makers have done it again with this tasty white cheddar. It comes wrapped in nice paper, smells expensive, melts nicely, and tastes like a deliciously sweet and salty tango of a white cheddar. A+

Guitar and ukulele review – Seagull S6 acoustic electric, Kala Waterman ukulele

Seagull S6 Acoustic Electric Dreadnaught Guitar

Canadian-made Godin’s Seagull, which seems to be the most readily available of Godin’s many lines in the US, specializes in steel string acoustics with a slightly wider than average neck and funny headstock along with Canadian woods.

This relatively entry-level cedar-topped offering makes a great classroom guitar. This one has that famous cedar midrange but is a bit less warm than I expect cedar to be. Certainly more Taylor than Martin in tone. This is also a new guitar and hasn’t “warmed up” the way old guitars have. It isn’t Trigger yet.

This puppy is plain yet well constructed. An unfinished wood “frame” around the headstock suggests binding that isn’t actually there. The satin finish is well executed, and the wild cherry back and sides lend a touch of the exotic.

Plugged in to a PA this guitar sounds, as expected, like that familiar quacky piezo sound we expect and accept as “plugged in” acoustic. There’s an on-board tuner too. That’s nice.

As far as playability, Seagull’s trademark wider neck delivers the textbook pros and cons of a wider neck – a somewhat awkward left hand makes for somewhat strained chording combined with a great-feeling, precise right hand. A treat for arpeggios.

But if you can’t locate a Norman, Art and Lutherie, or Simon and Patrick, getting used to the wider neck may be worth it, as a Canadian-made guitar this solid at this price is pretty unheard of. A

Kala Waterman soprano ukulele (transparent fluorescent blue plastic)

Kala has done it again with this nod to the funny old 50s Maccaferri plastic ukuleles. This puppy is designed to be relatively waterproof, safe for the beach and the tub.

It sounds pretty good. If plastic is good enough for Vistalites and Ovations it’s good enough for a ukulele – articulate, balanced, and even sort of resonant. It even comes with a neat drawstring bag.

The bridge is not the typical wrap-around style. The bracing and such is well executed. The action is just right. The open back black plastic tuners add a touch of class.

And here’s the kicker – Since the nut, zero fret, fretwork, and other pieces normally subject to human error at the factory are all a single piece of molded plastic, this is one of the most precise and accurate uses I’ve played, even if the sound isn’t exactly traditional. And it’s only $50. Better buy one for the tub. A+

Reviews – Blue Diamond Sriracha Flavored Almonds, Mariah Carey’s first two records

Blue Diamond Sriracha Flavored Almonds

File this under “more Sriracha-themed products that don’t taste anything like Sriracha.” These are, in fact, pretty tasty, and my two and a half year old son loves them, but if these were called “Zesty Louisiana Barbecue Almonds” or something they could pass. The ingredients, in fact, list cayenne pepper, the little flaky friends that sit in a jar on the table at the pizza shop and are a key component of Cajun cooking (traditional Thai sriracha is made from serrano peppers, and Huy Fong and similar American-made srirachas are made from similar-tasting jalapeños) and paprika! Which is not to say these are bad. They are, in fact, pretty good Zesty Louisiana Barbecue Smokehouse Almonds. A-

Mariah Carey/Mariah Carey (Columbia, 1990)

19 year old Mariah Carey already had an impressive set of pipes, and the 1990 Midi-tastic production sounds like a karaoke backing track. Heavy on those quiet storm ballads. Very heavy on those. And subdued, as if, like Prince’s For You and the Beatles’ Please Please Me, this debut barely scratches the surface of the up-and-coming artist’s potential. But this is the kind of album countless teenage girls spent a good time singing along with, in the process learning to become singers, and that is a good thing. The production is also a riot to listen to today. “Someday” is also as catchy today as it ever was. A-

Mariah Carey/Emotions (Columbia, 1991)

There’s a pretty wide gulf between the good and bad cuts on this one. The C&C-collaboration title track, which literally contains the highest un-altered pitch ever created by a human being in the history of sound recording, which heavily nods in the direction of both “Best of My Love” and “Got to Be Real,” is a hard act to follow, and while “Can’t Let Go” and “Make It Happen” are both top-notch, most of the rest of the songs sound as if they don’t deserve to be on the same album as those classics, and the flow from one track to the next is not great. This is not a sequence of songs that appears to go together. The gospel-flavored tracks don’t speak my language, and 1991’s synthesizer presets weren’t as fun as 1990’s. Still, on the strength of about three particularly good songs, this album is worthwhile.  A-

Review – BOSS BF-3 Flanger

BOSS BF-3 Flanger Guitar/Bass Effect Pedal

This thing, available in any color of your choice, as long as it’s “BF-3 Purple!” With five (count ’em, FIVE!) knobs, two of them stacked, and BOSS quality, this thing really delivers the goods – UFO noises, tasteful psychedelic effects, tap tempo, “momentary” mode (more often called “latch” these days), “gate/pan” (weirdo tremolo!?!), a bass-specific input I haven’t tried, even <–STEREO–> for those of you with two amps, and even the ability to dial in sounds that are useful for making actual music. You can even play “Barracuda” with this puppy. Yep, “Barracuda.” A+

On the subject of Mariah Carey’s New Years Rockin’ Eve

Every musician, big or small, has had experiences where something beyond our control – a malfunctioning piece of technology or an asleep-at-the-wheel sound guy – ruins our performance. Because bands like the Beatles had difficultly hearing themselves play over screaming fans, thereby being able to actually perform well, a certain band called the Grateful Dead pioneered something called stage monitors. It turns out people play better for large crowds when they can hear themselves. The first stage monitors, and the ones normally used by smaller acs today, “wedge monitors,” are speakers placed on the stage. Arena-filling megastars like Green Day and, in this case, Mariah Carey are more likely to use the modern version, in-ear monitors.

At New Years Rockin’ Eve Mimi’s in-ear monitor did not work, so she could not hear what was going on over the screaming fans, which revealed what appeared to be “drop-in” vocal segments of hard-to-hit “whistle register” notes. Mariah attempted to make the most of the performance by asking the crowd to sing along and joking with fans.

Musicians for decades have lip-synced live performances, particularly crucial TV-broadcasted live performances. Musicians also find ways around singing their difficult voice-straining parts. I saw gravelly-voiced Brian Wilson perform recently, and he shamelessly let other band members sing anything remotely difficult, and it nonetheless an enjoyable performance.

The Beatles, the Who, the Doors, and the other big names certainly lip-synced on Shindig and the other variety shows in the 60s. Michael Jackson lip-synced the Motown 25 “Billie Jean” performance where he debuted the Moonwalk, which is seen as one of the greatest moments in rock and roll history.

But there are certainly folks out there – musicians and non musicians alike – who say “I would never lip sync a performance.” And they are almost exclusively rock musicians. You see, there is little need for rock musicians to lip sync. Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen have terrible voices, so if they just show up at the gig and turn in a terrible vocal performance they just sound like themselves. If they lip-synced to a recorded track of them singing they would be lip-syncing to a poorly-sung track. No reason to do something like that. Roger Daltrey sounded horrible during the Super Bowl many years ago, but no one seemed to care. His pitch was not on the money on the original recording of “Baba O’Riley” when he was much younger either.

And one of the only rock and rollers I can think of with a truly Mariah Carey-like powerful three-dimensional multiple octave range, Freddie Mercury, suffered from vocal nodules and destroyed his voice. Brian Wilson, Joni Mitchell, and plenty of others destroyed their voices as well.

I understand that some folks have sort of an ingrained hatred of Mariah Carey in a pop-hating “here’s a ‘next big thing diva’ the music industry kind of force fed us – a perfectly-crafted hit-making machine, once married the president of her record company” way, but there is no doubt that she is tremendously talented, as a singer with a huge and distinctive voice and as a songwriter. Unlike many others in her genre Carey writes or co-writes most of her material, including the only Christmas song in the past several decades that has gained the same level of popularity and ubiquity as the old standards like “White Christmas” and “Let It Snow.” She is the artist who managed to craft a song around a sample of Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love” that was even better than the song it sampled. That song is the jam. “Someday” is the jam. Mariah Carey is a professional jam machine.

So don’t be a jerk. Don’t be one of those laughing cowards who gets a thrill out of watching a pretty black woman humiliate herself in front of a large crowd on live TV. Because that’s what this is about, and if you still feel entitled to criticize the diva, try singing “Emotions.” Right now. Don’t pretend you don’t know the song. You’ve known it for twenty five years. We all have. Now sing it without pants with some choreographed dance moves in the freezing cold in front of thousands of people while the technology you rely on stops working as expected.

And if, Pantless Zombie Freddie Mercury, you managed to pull it off, good for you. You and Mariah ought to sing a duet.

Reviews – Seven Coffee Roasters and Market, Regal Tip “Jazz” Drumsticks, Regal Tip 7A Drumsticks

Seven Coffee Roasters and Market

Growing up I knew this place as Ravenna Boulevard Grocery, one of two convenience stores I often frequented with my dad when we visited Ravenna Park. The other convenience store, Cowen Park Grocery, went upscale many years ago, and this one, with a slightly different spin, is now a retail cafe for Seven Coffee Roasters. I became familiar with Seven years ago when I worked at Essential Baking Company. We used Victrola Coffee, and Seven (among others) gave us samples. I remember them tasting about identical to Victrola. I would have been hard pressed to tell the difference. A few cafes I like also served Seven. In any event, this new Seven Cafe has some kind of fancy espresso machine that is built into the counter. The friendly guy working behind the counter told me all about it, but I don’t recall what it is called. My doppio was also excellent – not a ristretto but very smooth, quite a bit smoother than Victrola, in fact. I also had some kind of savory biscuit with butter. The ambiance and small selection of groceries was nice as well. A+

Regal Tip “Jazz” Drumsticks

Regal Tip is woman-owned (and a third generation family business), which I think is pretty neat. At just under 16 inches, these are somewhere around 5A length but a touch skinnier with a more pronounced taper. These sticks can be described as “fast,” “bouncy,” “reachy,” and “well-made,” and I suppose they would be a good match for some style of music like . . . . hmm, maybe that mysterious “jazz” genre mentioned on the label, but to me the balance felt off and they seemed to be lacking in “power.” To me they feel either too light or too long. They are also very shiny and seem to have a metal rod down the center, as per Regal Tip branding. Any of what I perceive as awkwardness of these sticks is due to my own lack of jazz chops and personal preference, but I believe these are fine sticks. And Regal Tip has plenty of other sizing options. A

Regal Tip 7A Drumsticks

Now this is a stick I’d be comfortable playing some serious jazz with. I got these at Trading Musician (along with the “Jazz” sticks above – discount for two pairs, you know), and I remembered why I prefer buying drum sticks at actual stores (but the stores in Kitsap County don’t carry my preferred brands!). I believe these are hickory, but the color of these sticks varied quite a bit from pair to pair, and the darker pairs spoke my language more, so I got a very dark pair.

Aside from youth sticks, at about 15 inches long these are probably the shortest sticks I’ve ever played. Even the other brands of 7As seem to be quite a bit longer. I feel like a very serious, precise drummer when I hold these. I feel like I’m going to play something tasteful with a high degree of precision. They are probably even lighter than the “jazz” sticks mentioned above, but they feel heavier. I hit harder with these than the longer sticks mentioned above. It’s all in the balance. These are also very fast, and I instinctively seem to hold them a little further back than I hold longer sticks. The shorter reach doesn’t seem to prevent me from doing anything. (Ginger Baker, as it turns out, uses 7As, and he holds them in a very non-traditional way.)

This pair of sticks makes a solid case against the trend toward longer drum sticks. Smaller people often say “I need longer sticks for the extra reach,” and larger people often say “I need larger sticks because I’m large,” but these shorties deliver more speed, more precision, and more power than longer sticks. And they’re just plain more “fun” than bigger sticks in the way that a Corolla is more fun than a Camry.

Nice work, Calato family! A+

Reviews – Evans G1 drum heads, Vater “Stewart Copeland Standard” drum sticks

Evans “Level 360” G1 tom heads (clear, 13/14/16, top and bottom)

Same Day Music shipped five heads in one box along with a pair of sticks and one head in another box all by itself, which came from another state! I decided to try D’Addario’s brand, Evans, rather than Remo because I hear they are less temperamental, have fewer strange resonances, and are marginally cheaper, and I decided to try single-ply rather than double-ply because I hear it does the mismatched tension “pitch drop” trick better. I do indeed prefer these to the comparable Remos I have used on toms. They tuned up quickly and stayed in tune without strange “new head” resonances. I have no personal experience with Evans on snare though as I have a Remo ambassador on snare duty. These are also made in USA. They lose an “A+” only because Remos are more attractive. A

Vater “Stewart Copeland Standard” Drum Sticks

These are a nice pair of 5Aish sticks and feature all of Vater’s “brand feel” attributes, like a flat butt end, relatively poorly-stamped logoage, and a flat finish. They are thus duller, flatter-butted, and perhaps a millimeter or so shorter than the Regal Tip 5as I had on hand (and possibly ever-so-slightly thinner, but I’m not sure). I appreciate that Vater sticks aren’t covered in giant centered logos like most of the competition these days. They seem like nice bouncy medium weight sticks, good for playing the intricate hi hat lick that opens up “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” and such, but isn’t what we all really want Stewart Copeland Signature Drummer’s Shorts? A