Friday, November 10, 2006

It's Okay To Stare

Today's show (which begins in less than two hours - shit, I need to pick some stuff out) has been supplemented by wonderful musics created for Self Help Radio, or at least with Self Help Radio in mind. Or maybe with Self Help Radio as an afterthought. What are they?

There's a strangely non-danceable intro from Austin's own CJ Buchanan. Since Rick Perry's reelection, he's been busy teaching the governor how to use Instant Messenger to communicate with teenagers, but he's taking time out of his busy schedule to make an intro that will have you "Staring." (Ha! I've always wanted to do that. I don't know why. It's kinda awkward. It also doesn't make any sense. Maybe if I were talking about a movie? Who knows?)

Secondly, Dallas' own the Ramonalisas recruited also Dallas' own Rahim Quazi to make a song about staring called "I Went To The Store To Buy A Box Of Bread But Returned With A Volleyball Card Collection." Or maybe it's just called "Staring." It's quite lovely. Believe it.

Thirdly, the mysterious musical duo called the Licorice Whips weigh in with a sugary tune called "Voyeurism Is The New Tattoo." While it's probably too deep a thought for me (I still haven't figured out what those posters with the cute cat attached to a branch with the big letters "HANG IN THERE!" above it means), it sure is a wonderful song.

So there are three unique reasons to listen to Self Help Radio today at 4:30 on KOOP, online at That's too much, you don't really deserve more. But if you want more...

Well, there will be haikus. I'll talk about the "male gaze." I'll also continue with the new feature I started last week at a listener's request, the Self Help Radio Self Help Minute. Finally! One minute of self help during Self Help Radio.

Tune in! You won't be sorry!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I Continue To Answer Your Letters!

It's Thursday, so it's time to see what you, dear listener, have to ask me. This email came only moments ago, from Barney. He writes:

Dear Dude,
You were on the Elk Show today and you talked alot about some benefit this weekend. I looked all over and couldnt find nothing about it. Whats the skinny?

It may seem awful strange for me to get an email which is so amazingly timed to a KOOP benefit at which I am deejaying, but I am told that that sort of serendipity happens all the time in the blogworld. Who knew?

Yes, there is a benefit this Saturday, the 1st Annual KOOP East Austin Rock Marathon, which is happening from 4pm till 1am at a cozy little space called Red's Scoot Inn, which is located at 1308 East 4th Street, at the corner of 4th & Navasota. In addition to me spinning some tunes in-between the bands, there are bands playing in-between me spinning tunes. Those bands are:

Moonlight Towers
Andrew Duplantis & The Unfaithfuls
Summer Wardrobe
The Nay Says
iKill CaRS
Youngmond Grand
Crawling With Kings

There is information at, but the interesting thing is it says this about me:

Plus KOOP's own Self Help Gary selecting tunes to a "theme," between sets.

I'm sure the only theme will be to keep you entertained between sets. Although do not rule out songs about me needing a cigarette. I've written over a dozen of them since I quit smoking nine days ago. & they all rule!

The benefit should have something for everyone, so please come out. It's for a good cause. & thank you, Barney, for your timely email!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Whither Staring?

I am not good with eye contact. I don't make it, is what I mean. I generally avoid looking in people's eyes, for whatever reason. In fact, one of the benefits (of which there are many) of delicious alcohol & its delicious effect on a person is that, when quite deep in the cups, it's very easy to maintain eye contact, because if you let your eyes wander, the room may start spinning. I can easily hold someone's eyes in mine when I am way too drunk to dare look away.

Which begs the question: why a show about staring?

I think first we must recognize that a lot of staring takes place far from the object of the stare, whether across a crowded room (or club, or bar), or across the street, or from behind a curtain (or peephole, or tinted windshield), or through binoculars, or a two-way mirror, or simply in a crowd. & the object of the stare need not be another human - it could be the wall, the sun, the ground - or parts of yourself (your hands) or your entire self, if you're staring at a mirror. & the stare need not be sustained for some length of time before it become a stare. A stare is a stare. Even if it's a glance or a look. Even if it's a glazed marathon of a stare. A stare is a look is a peek is a gaze.

We're always staring, whether it's at a computer we're writing on, or a passive television that's telling us how the Democrats won control of the House of Representatives. I find I can't help but stare at people who are walking or biking or running past my house. I also find that I am more than likely to return a stare if I catch someone staring at me on the bus. I'll also return a smile, & look away, if they smile at me.

"Stare" is a fun word, & it's safe to say that not all the songs I'll play Friday will mention that word, but will mention some aspect of staring, be it looking, watching, peeping, ogling, gazing, etc. According to the OED, it's a totally German word that infiltrated the English language early on, & of course I now have the image of drunk German people staring me down during Oktoberfest. Speaking of, we have a weird game associated with staring, don't we? A "staring contest" is a kind of psychic war of wills wherein the first person to blink their eyes loses.

A show about staring I hope will celebrate this solitary practice which we all partake in in some manner or other, sometimes naughtily, sometimes innocently. It's something we do with only the voice in our heads to keep us company, because the spell is nearly always broken with questions like "What're you looking at?" & comments like "Stop staring at me!" Think of that while you're listening to the show - a stare is a personal thing, & very rarely is the stare in any way explicable outside of the one whose eyes are doing the work.

This Friday, you'll want to stare all afternoon long at Self Help Radio.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Preface to Staring: What?

I find this amusing. I didn't write a preface to staring today because I've been staring at the election results all night.

Also, it's officially a week since I quit smoking. Never quit smoking during an election. That's my advice to you.

Not that I've buckled - it's just been hard.

Tomorrow: why a show about staring?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Party Haiku Wrap-Up

My apprentice Erin's most excellent "Party" show is available now for listening in a podcast-sized mp3 file or two over on the Self Help Radio homepage. It's especially fun because I have a party horn. I like to blow the party horn.

Erin also solicited for haikus for the show, & so, here are her haikus she solicited:


The keg is floated
and we're all out of whippets
so let's get naked


Good wine and hookahs
unabashed hedonism
now that's a party


Top-notch party
Morning dew covers the stranger
Naked on the front lawn

(Please note: this haiku is NOT in the standard style. It therefore shouldn't have won second place. I have filed a protest with the International Committee for Haiku Regulation. Erin will be hearing from my lawyer!)


and then he took me
kisses in a dark hallway
our private party

Congrats to all the winners, including the sneaky one. This week's theme is "staring." Stare at this page until you feel compelled to write a haiku.