A Twin Peaks Pilgrimage, in photos

Happy one year anniversary of Twin Peaks returning to TV!

I guess it’s appropriate—but also completely coincidental—that last week Alex and I rented a car in Seattle, hopped on I-90 east toward Snoqualmie, and went on a day-long expedition to visit a bunch of Twin Peaks filming locations. (Alex had been in town for a work conference; I was just along for the ride.)

I took an abundance of pictures with my phone, so figured I’d put them here and try to match them up with stills from the show, because that’s what normal people do, right? It’s kind of fun to note that the original series takes place in February-March, so everything’s all barren trees and snowy mountains and trench coats…in contrast, we visited on one of the most beautiful days of the year: super blue skies, 75 degree weather, and abundant sunshine. As a result, here are some photos of David Lynch’s dark/moody Twin Peaks compared with our bright/sunny Twin Peaks.


First up was the welcome sign (or at least, the site of it—apparently there was a sign, but it got stolen 😢). This view actually faces away from the town, so you’d actually be driving into the mountains if you kept going. 

Right down the road was Ronette’s bridge (the railroad tracks were added by Lynch & Co.). This bridge goes right over the Snoqualmie River and is a surprisingly beautiful place to take a walk, if you’re not Ronette Pulaski.

Another short distance away was the Sheriff’s Department building. In real life it’s a rally racing school called DirtFish. Ran into several other Peakies here (it was pretty easy to tell who was there for racing and who wasn’t).

We also went inside!

They must get this a lot, but the staff was totally cool with us taking photos. I know nothing about rally racing, but there was some pretty neat gear—and old cars—inside the building. Someone also decided to cater to the Twin Peaks crowd by parking this decorated Ford Bronco outside:

It’s weird how your mind fills in the landscape around all these fictional places. Case in point: for some reason I always imagined the Packard Sawmill at the edge of a forest bordering some water, when in real life it’s right down the street from the rally racing school parking lot, in the middle of a big field. Its real name is the Weyerhaeuser Mill, and it’s been out of service for 15 years:

By far the most touristy spot (for reasons other than Twin Peaks) was Snoqualmie Falls. It was a pretty impressive sight, but I don’t think I fully appreciated it at the time because I was very concerned with finding a bathroom (#girlproblems). The falls are featured in the opening credits of the show and any time you see an exterior shot of the Great Northern Hotel, which is actually Salish Lodge and Spa:

The interior of the Great Northern wasn’t shot at Salish Lodge though; you have to go across the bay (sound?) to Kiana Lodge in Poulsbo to see all the painted wood walls and giant fireplaces. Sadly we didn’t make it to Kiana Lodge but I really want to go there someday and dance in Ben Horne’s office.

After the falls we made a quick stop at the Roadhouse, located just north in the town of Fall City:

Then we looped back down to go to Twede’s (a.k.a. the Double R Diner) for lunch, obvi:

My favorite part of lunch was watching a group of people who were clearly fans of the show try to contain their excitement as they walked into the diner, because I’d done the exact same thing. It’s so hard not to squee when you feel like you’re stepping into the Double R!

The place definitely caters to Peakies (I feel like an unassuming patron would be confused at why half of the signs inside advertise a diner of a different name). But that aside, it’s just your average small-town diner playing country music from the radio. We were there at 12:30pm and I’m pretty sure the number of employees outnumbered the patrons.

For the record, I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich, mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, lemonade, and a slice of cherry pie. Alex ordered a BLT and coffee. I messed up the pie order by getting whipped cream, so it wasn’t very photo-worthy. We’ll just have to go again someday….

I tried to find a scene that takes place at the same table we sat at (the center booth on the left side), but most important conversations seem to take place closer to the back of the diner. Here’s one though!, featuring everyone’s favorite giggling waitress.

Last on our itinerary was the infamous Palmer house. Although all of the above filming locations are within a few minutes from each other, the house is about an hour north, in Everett. That gave us plenty of time to listen to the Twin Peaks soundtrack, which I would highly recommend if you take a similar journey. It sets the mood perfectly, and gets you nice and psyched up for the moment you drive up to this place:

We parked across the street and were surprised to see that the front door was wide open. I’d read that the current owner of the house (who also made a pretty important cameo in the show *SPOILERS*) sometimes lets fans come inside, so after much debate, we finally decided we would peek in and see if anyone was home. Turns out the owner was home, but it was her daughter who came to the door, and told us her mom was on the phone and “it wasn’t really a good time.” She was super apologetic and nice, and told us we were welcome to take pictures outside. That was already way more than I was expecting, so we took our photos and went on our way.

From there we drove back to our Seattle Airbnb (which happened to be a haunted saloon and former brothel; a story for another post, maybe) and celebrated our successful day with fine craft beer from Fremont Brewing, an excellent dinner at Damn the Weather, and a few rounds of the Great Seattle Wheel at dusk. Now that I’m thinking back on it, it was a pretty perfect day, Diane.


In short, I’d highly recommend this excursion to anyone who’s a fan of the show. I wasn’t really expecting anything more than a fun photo op, but as it turns out, Dale Cooper’s fascination with this little corner of the Pacific Northwest was totally warranted. I had just as much fun exploring downtown Snoqualmie and all of its history as I did crossing off the pre-determined destinations on our map, which I’ll also include here for anyone interested (and for future reference, since I 100% expect to go back one day): Twin Peaks Filming Locations Map

To me, the world of Twin Peaks is about 90% of what makes the show so special. In the first two seasons, whenever the characters got unbearable or the story took a turn for the worse (I’m looking at you, Annie Blackburn), I could still revel in the magic of that little town in all its mysterious, scenic glory. And in Season 3, even though much of the action took place in other locations, every return to Twin Peaks felt oddly and wonderfully familiar.

I’ll leave you with this fan-made video of Dale Cooper’s first appearance in the show, intercut with some of Twin Peaks’ most iconic settings. A+ editing, one big thumbs up:

4 films that define you…go.

This made the rounds on Twitter earlier today, and it seemed like a fun thing to do. The challenge was to name four films that define you, in celebration of “the personal nature of cinema.” A worthy endeavor. It kind of evolved into people just posting four images or screencaps from their chosen movies, which is what I ended up doing too:

Pretty sure I’ve blabbed about each of these at some point on this blog, but here’s a summary.

Lost in Translation (2003)

The mood and music of Lost in Translation is basically my entire aesthetic. I love how Sofia Coppola captured the feeling of being anonymous in a big city, and the uncertainty of relationships caught in limbo, and the bittersweetness of not quite knowing what to do with your life. Also, Bill Murray is a national treasure.

Annie Hall (1977)

Liking Woody Allen movies is problematic these days, but that won’t stop me from considering Annie Hall one of the best films ever made. This movie assured me that being neurotic and awkward was ok, as long as I could find someone else equally neurotic and awkward to talk about it with (Annie Hall was one of the first things Alex and I bonded over when we met). Plus, it’s so packed with memorable scenes that I regularly forget that Paul Simon is in it, which is quite a feat.

Easy Rider (1969)

Easy Rider is the 1960s—my spirit decade—in movie form. It’s basically an extended road trip montage backed by an amazing soundtrack. And because the 60s weren’t all peace and love, it also gets pretty dark, a true period piece if ever there was one. Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper are great, but Jack Nicholson most definitely steals the show. I quote this film probably once a week at minimum.

Sunset Boulevard (1950)

I was having a hard time choosing between this and a Chaplin/Keaton film, but went with Sunset Boulevard because it celebrates the silent era while also embodying the Hollywood of the 1950s, in all its noir splendor. And because glorifying the past is one of my favorite things to do. Me and Norma Desmond have a lot in common, as it turns out.


Putting this together made me realize that setting plays a huge role in all of my favorite movies. Tokyo, New York City, the American Southwest, Los Angeles…I have a personal connection with all of these places, and undoubtedly they are part of the reason I love each of these films so much.

For funsies, here are my runners-up:

A Hard Day’s Night (1964) – This movie changed my life (or more accurately, the people in it changed my life). It was a tough one to leave out of the top 4.
Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995) – Sigh. Mr. Holland’s Opus will always hold a special place in my heart for starting me on my journey to band geekdom.
Amadeus (1984) – I loooove the set design, and I looooove Mozart.
Sherlock Jr. (1924) – Ahhh, so many good visual tricks in this one. This one doesn’t really define me in any way; I wanted to include a silent film as a reminder that movies were on a completely different (and in many ways, more creative) level in the 1910s and 1920s.

Anyone else? Share your 4 films with meeeeee.

Music Sampler: Feb ’18

Last week we went to a super fun show at the Fox featuring Tune-Yards, Thao and The Get Down Stay Down, and Sudan Archives. (There was another opening act we missed and who I had a heck of a time finding online because the artist’s name is Siri…I’m 90% sure this is her, though.) Thought I would share some of the music with y’all, since it’s been floating around in my head ever since.

Sudan Archives is from Cincinnati and now based in LA. I can see why she’d be on the same bill as Tune-Yards; her performance was a mix of live vocals and violin over dope percussion loops. Here’s a taste:

Thao and The Get Down Stay Down is a San Francisco-based band who I’d heard but had never seen live (here’s a neat little introduction to frontwoman Thao Nguyen). After listening to a bit more of their stuff, I think I prefer some of the more recent/gritty songs, but chose this video from 2013 because it captures that fun point in time when both the old and new Bay Bridge existed:

Then there’s Tune-Yards a.k.a. tUnE-yArDs a.k.a. Merrill Garbus of Oakland, CA. The only other time I’d seen Tune-Yards was a free show in Stern Grove, a totally different—and equally awesome—experience. This show had fewer personnel: just Merrill, Nate Brenner, and a drummer (sorry I don’t know his name!!) and less live percussion, but way more visual pizzazz. I usually don’t care that much about stuff like staging and lighting design, but the light show kind of blew me away (a sample).

Tune-Yards have a new album out called I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life. It’s taking me a while to get into the album itself, but I really enjoyed the songs when they were played live at the Fox. Here’s the most recent music video; it’s got some pretty sweet dance moves:

While we’re here showcasing righteous female singers, I’ll include a few more for your listening pleasure:

In other news, it’s been raining a lot and I’ve been in a much more bloggy mood lately, so hopefully I’ll have more to share on here soon.

On Geocities, FanFiction.net, and Tumblr

I recently read a fascinating Longreads article by Julianne Aguilar about girls on the Internet in the early 2000s and found myself relating to it way more than I expected. Not just because I was a 12-year-old girl who had a DIY Geocities site, but because it made me remember how it felt to be part of that era, among a bunch of other kids who were just old enough to navigate the world wide web, trying to carve out their own space in uncharted digital territory.

We were the first generation to grow up using the Internet as a platform to express ourselves, which was honestly pretty awesome. And as Aguilar points out, we were also the first generation to confront harassment that could be totally anonymous and untraceable (to us, at least). It was a world that was totally separate from real life, but the interactions we had with strangers—good and bad—still affected us in real ways. Definitely not something I ever considered at the time, but super interesting to think about now.

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Who else learned how to make a scrolling marquee from this site?

In the article, Aguilar describes exactly the kind of website I had (and that every other preteen girl online seemed to have): “an About Me page, a page of lyrics…a page of jokes, graphics she’d made, dolls collected from around the ’90s Internet of Girls. A guestbook.” Oh man, I totally remember those digital dolls (I mean, “dollz”…here’s a relevant Reddit thread) and the little badges you could collect and put on your homepage. It was totally normal to go around and find guestbooks to sign, complimenting the owner’s website and asking them to check out your own. I still remember a very specific guestbook entry someone left on my site that said something to the effect of, “Fun website, but you might want to consider not auto-playing that MIDI of ‘Come on Over’ on every page.” Good call, stranger.

Aside from one or two real-life friends who I shared my site(s) with, most of the people I interacted with online were people I’d never met. And later on, when I started getting obsessed with certain bands, there were people from across the world who became like idols to me. There was Beth, who had the same tastes in music and an offbeat sense of humor that I tried unsuccessfully to emulate (sadly, I can’t remember the name of her site). Then there was Sabrina, who ran God Bless the Beatles (which still exists!) and frequently published new pages like “The Many Adventures of Paul Without A Shirt” and “The Heather Advice Skanktuary” (because we all hated Heather Mills). There were also girls my age who were really good at making Livejournal avatars in Photoshop, and devoted fanfic writers whose novellas I literally printed out from FanFiction.net and read in bed at night (it’s just now occurring to me how weird that is….but I didn’t have a laptop and I just really wanted to read my Beatlestories).

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God Bless The Beatles, 2002 (thanks, Wayback Machine!)

The article describes how young girls like these—who may have been totally average people in reality but found a certain celebrity status online—were inevitably harassed and bullied as a result of their popularity, even back then “when the Internet was small.” Aguilar talks about trying to track down one of her own personal idols from the early 2000s, a girl named Sara who may or may not have died in June 2017. It made me think about all those young writers and creatives I followed and looked up to, and where they might be today (I doubt I’ll ever know).

The tone of the article is pretty somber, but while reading, I couldn’t help but think about the flip side: what a cool world we created 20 years ago, where we all had our own personal corners of the Internet, and where fans of a particular band or TV show could meet other fans from across the world and be geeky together without feeling embarrassed about it. There are friends I met on Livejournal that I still keep in touch with today, yet have never met in person (all because we shared the same unabashed love for the Beatles). So I guess my response to the article is a more optimistic one…even though I encountered my fair share of nasty comments as a kid on the Internet circa 2000, I was lucky enough to find a niche that made me feel at home, and plenty of people who inspired me to keep writing about all the random silly things I liked, because they did it too.

I guess the same applies today, but on a much larger scale. My 12-year-old self would be delighted to know how many online mediums there are for feeding one’s fangirly emotions. YouTube is an endless rabbit hole of homemade compilation videos, Twitter is the perfect platform for unfiltered season finale reactions, and there’s a subreddit for every fandom imaginable. And don’t even get me started on Tumblr.

(Ok, actually, a quick love letter to Tumblr:

When it comes to fansites, Tumblr is the closest equivalent I see to the websites of the early 2000s I used to frequent. In addition to being a mecca for amazing fan art, it’s produced a whole network of incredibly comprehensive fansites, most of which are created by teenagers and 20-somethings known only by their usernames. What’s also amazing is how *organized* these online fandoms can be. Like, it’s super normal for the content on a Star Trek site to be categorized by series, movie, character pairing, starship, etc. Or for there to be a tag for Mulder’s glasses on an X-Files blog, because of course I’m not the only one who giggles stupidly when Mulder wears glasses. In short, I love the dedication of these young fans/artists, and I also love that I’ve gotten to see some of them launch careers in illustration or graphic design after getting their start on Tumblr.)

These wonderful communities of strangers—who form friendships and support each other and constantly create new things to share with the world—are enough, in my opinion, to balance out the ugly. There will always be awful people saying awful things on the Internet, but as long as there’s also good stuff like this, it’ll be worth preserving, and protecting.


PS: I tried in vain to find my middle school-era websites but 1) I can’t even remember what they were called, and 2) even if I did, I’m sure they weren’t important enough for Wayback Machine to archive. But I did find a snapshot of my high school pet project, the VHS pit site, so I’ll leave you with that:

pit site
(This probably looked awful on every browser except my own. Also, you can’t see the MIDI file anymore, but I learned my lesson about auto-play.)

Wakanda to Tokyo in 24 hours

This past weekend we went to see two movies at our neighborhood theater, the first being Black Panther, of course. I’ll leave it to the reviewers to talk about the cultural impact; I’m just here to say I’m really really into the soundtrack (both Ludwig Göransson’s and Kendrick Lamar’s). So much talking drum! And mbira! I’m just waiting for this music to pop up in a drum corps show.

The second movie we saw was Paprika, a glorious piece of eye candy from 2006. I had no idea what to expect, but what I got was basically Inception in anime form (except way trippier. Also, Paprika came out four years before Inception). It’s late and I don’t have much to say except I’d highly recommend watching it if you get a chance. I’ll just leave the trailer here:

(I also loved the music from Paprika, although as you can see from the trailer, it sometimes creates a weird combination of catchy pop and disturbing imagery.)

GP: The Grievous Angel

For years I’ve been wanting to go to Joshua Tree National Park: 1) because it’s an amazing place, and 2) to pay tribute to country rock legend Gram Parsons.

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I can’t remember when I first learned about Gram, but I’m pretty sure it was through one of the many Keith Richards interviews/memoirs I’ve read over the years, seeing as Gram and Keef were BFFs. As a result, Gram was a big influence on the Rolling Stones’ country-flavored stuff in the early 70s (some of the best music of all time, IMO).

A little history: Gram Parsons started off playing folk and rock guitar, but his real bag was country. After dropping out of Harvard, he went to LA and joined the Byrds in 1968, sticking around just long enough to tour a bit and make Sweetheart of the Rodeo (I’m not huge on the Byrds, but that album is one of my favorites). Then he and Chris Hillman went on to form the Flying Burrito Brothers:

(Gram is the one in the hat and Nudie suit, hamming it up for the camera.)

After that, he spent some time hanging out with the Stones, living with Keith during the recording of Exile on Main Street, another one of my favorite albums of all time. It was around this time Gram heard Emmylou Harris perform in a club in DC, and invited her to sing on his first solo album, GP. He and Emmylou toured for a bit, but never really got much of a following. I’m devastated there are no good videos of them performing live, because their voices together were magical. Emmylou would go on to become a big star, but that’s getting ahead of the story a bit.

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As any country rock outlaw would, Gram loved Joshua Tree (you can see the Burrito Bros. hanging out in the park in the video above). He went there alone, he went there with Keef, he went there whenever he could. In July 1973, when bandmate Clarence White was killed in an accident, Gram told his friend/manager Phil Kaufman that he wanted to be cremated and his ashes scattered in Joshua Tree in the event of his death.

Unfortunately, Kaufman had to make good on that deal just a few months later. Gram overdosed at the Joshua Tree Inn on September 18, 1973. His body was taken to LAX to be flown back to New Orleans at his stepfather’s request, but in order to fulfill Gram’s wishes, Phil Kaufman and another buddy Michael Martin drunkenly stole the casket in a hearse and drove it out to Joshua Tree. They stopped at a rock formation off the main road, doused the casket in gasoline, threw in a match, then drove away.

How Kaufman and Martin were found by the police is a story in itself, but they were eventually arrested, released, and fined just a few hundred dollars for stealing the casket (not the body, because there weren’t any laws about that). The not-quite-cremated body of Gram Parsons was found by some campers and was eventually transported back to Louisiana, but fans have been going to Joshua Tree for decades to pay tribute at the place he loved most.


This past weekend, I finally made it to Joshua Tree. While driving to the park, we listened to GP as I told Alex the story of Gram’s death and botched cremation. I made us stop for a photo op outside the Joshua Tree Inn (the actual motel is fenced off, but guests can still stay in Room 8 where Gram died). I had vague understanding about a makeshift memorial in the park, but didn’t know where it was. A quick Google search before entering the park placed it at Cap Rock, the site where Kaufman and Martin unsuccessfully tried to cremate Gram’s body that night.

While I’m sure there are detailed instructions somewhere on how to find the memorial, all we had was the general location (Cap Rock wasn’t even on the park map we were given), so we hiked around a few different rock formations until Alex finally spotted it: an unassuming alcove in the shade of a big boulder, right next to the main road. On the underside of the boulder were some song lyrics written in charcoal, and on a nearby rock, someone had drawn a cross next to the initials GP. A handful of guitar picks and other trinkets were arranged on a little ledge above. It would be pretty easy to miss if we weren’t looking for it.

No one else was around, so we quietly snapped some pictures and went on our way. Park rangers periodically “clean up” the site, so I have no idea if this was a few days or months’ worth of tribute.

Somewhere in my classic rock adventures I’ve become particularly fond of 60s/70s country rock, no doubt thanks to Gram, Keef, and Nez (who I recently saw in concert! another post on that later, maybe). Songs about the desert and the highway—even if they’re about loneliness and heartbreak—always bring back happy memories of childhood road trips through the Southwest. So basically what I’m saying is, Gram’s music holds a special place in my heart, and even though his flame burned out too soon, it’s nice to know his spirit is very much alive in Joshua Tree.

Her Majesty’s a pretty nice girl

So, I’ve been really into The Crown lately…probably because it’s a welcome distraction from the hot mess that is the United States right now. Also I like looking at fancy interiors and rooms with impossibly high ceilings.

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Previously, the only knowledge I had about the royal family was from many years of watching Beatles footage. There’s actually quite a bit of relevant material. First there was the Royal Variety show in 1963, where the Beatles played for the Queen Mother and John got cheeky:

Then there were multiple instances of the Beatles meeting Princess Margaret (“Priceless Margarine” in John’s words). Fun fact: she and Lord Snowdon both attended the premieres for A Hard Day’s Night and Help! (spoiler alert: the Princess doesn’t marry Peter Townsend).

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And of course the MBE debacle, in which the Queen made the boys members of the British Empire, fans stormed Buckingham Palace, a bunch of people got mad, and the Beatles just got super high and gave a somewhat incomprehensible interview about it:

Fast forward to the 90s and you have Paul and George Martin being knighted by the Queen herself. And, a gazillion years later, Ringo’s finally a knight too!

Anyway, it’s been fun learning more about the monarchy and all its drama by way of a Netflix original series. Compared to American scandal, it’s all very dignified drama. Also, I’ve learned that I kind of have a crush on King George VI and I’m cool with that.

To end, here’s an adorable picture of Paul and the Queen:

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(Bonus picture – I find this one even more adorbs.)