Friday, October 20, 2006

& what does the weekend mean to you?

I am so used to being contrary - doing a show about Tuesdays on a Friday, for example - that I am a little embarrassed that I am doing a show about the weekend as the weekend begins. Plus, if you live in Austin, the weather is gorgeous - a little too warm & humid, perhaps, to remind someone of a northern California summer day, but close enough. It will indeed be a gorgeous weekend.

But the show is, as they say, in the can, which means I have gathered the material to make the show, & will lug it up to KOOP in a scant ninety minutes, & then I will unleash it upon anyone out there listening. I wish I could tell you something about the show to tease or tantalize, but it's going to be what you expect from me. Or is it?

I have lots of indiepop, & some old rock & roll (including Chubby Checker & Eddie Cochran). I have some silly songs from Germany, as well as entries from Japan & something in French by a band that I believe is not from France. There will doubtless be inane banter between me & my lovely apprentice, Erin, as well as me talking a whole hell of a lot about that book I mentioned earlier this week.

Oh, & no Loverboy. Thank god for that. Because I polled a small group of friends, & none of them were working for the weekend. Most of them, in fact, were slacking off for the weekend. They borrowed some money & bummed a few smokes.

Do tune in. It'll be fun. It'll (o god I can't believe I'm writing this) start your weekend off right.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Whither Weekends?

I surveyed nearly two of my friend - I mean, friends - recently about my choice of topic for this week's show, which is "weekends." I said to her - er, I mean them - why do you think I'd do a show about weekends? Their response was obvious & wrong. "Douchebag," they said (it's a pet name), "your show is on a Friday. You like to say shit on the air like, 'Your weekend starts now.' You do some kind of topical thing every now & again. What the hell do I care?"

But my mother was wrong. I mean, my friend was wrong. Friends. My friends were wrong. Because they weren't paying attention! Also, they don't read this blog. Virtually no one does. If I didn't read it to my cats, almost no one would even hear all the stuff I write here. It's really just like the poetry I wrote in high school. Except maybe I spell better now? I don't know.

Anyhoo, the point is, I'm not doing a show about weekends just because the much-beloved Self Help Radio rests on the edge between "week" & "weekend." No, there is a sentimental reason.

About four years ago last month, I got my first show on KOOP. I wasn't sure what I was going to call it, & it was temporarily occupying a place on Friday mornings (which I kind of enjoyed, but it wasn't meant to be). I had already decided to organize the show around "themes" for a couple of reasons - which I think I've already explained here - but I was also doing it against the advice of a couple of people, who said that a mildly-famous local radio host also did that. "Except," I said, "I'll play good music!" That shut 'em up. What they didn't know is that my themes would be challenging, inexplicable, utterly arbitrary - most of the time.

My very first show was a show about Friday. What a way to start it all off! Literal & appropriate. Except. I found out about getting the show just a couple of days before I was to go on the air. What? No time to prepare? Whatever shall I do?

I did what I could. I found a few Friday songs, & then, seeing as how Friday was the gateway to the weekend, I rounded it off to include some weekend songs too. That was my very first show on KOOP. As my show. Which wasn't called Self Help Radio yet. In fact, I think for some reason it was called The American Horseracing School Presents. The doctors hadn't quite figured out my meds at the time.

What's all this got to do with the price of weekends on Friday? Well, when I went to Wednesdays (where Self Help Radio stayed for three & a half years), it felt permanent. So I began my tenure there with a "Hello" show, & the award-winning run of Self Help Radio began. That was in early October 2002. Look where I am now. I have gray hairs all over my beard. Also, I've started to develop a limp. Is that natural?

Since it's the four-year anniversary month, I thought I'd sort of revisit an old theme (not really) (since I'm not doing a show about Fridays) as a kind of fourth anniversary celebration. I will have muffins made with the number four on them. Or maybe I'll defrost all those cookies I made for the Fantastic Four viewing party I had that no one came to. That's a better idea! No one will recognize the "four" logo - they're too cool to come to my parties.

So wish my a happy fourth anniversary by tuning in Friday to hear songs & talk about weekends. I promise you, after it's done, you'll get an entire weekend.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Preface to Weekends: It's Only Tuesday?!?!

I am a fanciful person, by which I mean I make a lot of stuff up. If you were me, you'd understand. I've not gotten so bad that the truths I invent to understand or enrich my life have completely overtaken me, & I believe them like they really happened - no, I'm not a Republican! - but I do sometimes have amazing fantasies in my head that are so far & above how the real world works that it's a durned shame that some of them aren't true.

Some are fed by a steady diet of movies, music & books - for example, I did once contemplate (at the age of ten) opening a microwave oven while it was operating (in the days when you could do that) so I'd be exposed to the mysterious rays & get super powers like every other Marvel Comics super hero. But some are just the workings of my mind, absurdities trying to elbow out the mundanities of tepid life in the 21st century.

& some are propped up by the arbitrary ways human beings, in our ten thousand years of so-called civilization, have constructed their ways of seeing to make sense in the world. For example, I am a bit obsessed with time. Time as a concept seems straightforward enough - it has something to do with light, something to do with the universe expanding, something to do with the nature of our mechanical, physical world - the fact that we live on a planet that spins on its axis & rotates around a yellow star. What's fascinating to me is how humans have chosen to chop up that time - seconds, minutes, hours, days - to months, years, centuries, millenia. In between all that, there is this phenomena called "the week."

I am tempted to write a very silly story about how the week was invented by a bitter old man - Ted Week - when he got really sad when his schoolmates from some ancient Babylonian or Greek or Egyptian or Chinese grade school equivalent - his pals like Herbie January & William Saturday, for example - all got periods of time named after them. Even weirdos like Horace Second & Bernice Century got some divison of time named after them! So Ted Week plotted... You can see how it would have gone.

But the truth is even weirder. As I'll explain (or try to, anyway) on my show Friday, time divisions like the month or the year are easily understood with natural phenomena - the moon, the seasons. In this wonderful book I found, "Waiting For The Weekend" by Witold Rybczynski - the author points out:

Day spans the interval between the rising & setting of the sun... The month measures - or once did - the time required for the moon to wax, become full, & wane; & the year counts one full cycle of the seasons. What does the week measure? Nothing. At least, nothing visible. No natural phenomenon occurs every seven days - nothing happens to the sun, the moon, of the stars. The week is an artifical, human-made interval.

I love the hell out of that. So why make anything up? The truth is already plainly delightful. & it doesn't even begin to suggest why humans invented a "weekend" as we now understand & experience.

By the way, this book (which I just started reading today) has nothing to do with the show being about the weekend. I'll talk about why I'm doing a show about weekends tomorrow.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Too Many Thanks

Normally - or what I'd like to do normally, anyway - I'd do a haiku wrap-up on Mondays. But I didn't get to read the haikus on Friday because it was a Membership Drive show. So, instead, without being too syrupy & goofy about it, I'd just like to thank the nice people who gave money to KOOP through Self Help Radio. I did very well for this Membership Drive because of you, & I am forced to keep making delicious radio shows because I know you have a well-developed palate for the sort of radio KOOP provides. So, without embarassing too many people, I'll thank you by your first names:

Thank you, Jenny. Thank you, Heath. Thank you, Stan & BJ. Thank you, Michael. Thank you, Paul. Thank you, Joe. Thank you, Mike. Thank you, Rosey Rose. Thank you, Jim. Thank you, Gary (what a great name you have!). Thank you, Nancy. Thank you, Bolan. Thank you, Twyla & Schrieber. Thank you, Robert. Thank you, Tania. Thank you, Robert. Thank you, John. & finally, thank you, Tim.

Stephen Colbert jokingly calls his audience "the heroes," but KOOP is such a deeply personal enterprise for its volunteers that I think it translates into a deeply personal radio experience for its listeners, & you guys are more than heroes to us at KOOP - you're our best friends. Thank you, thank you, thank you.