Friday, August 08, 2008

Olympic Scandal!

It's true! There's shame & scandal involving the Olympics! But not the shame & scandal you'd expect! No - NBC, which is showing the Olympics on the teevee over the next three hundred days, is pre-empting the best thing on television this summer: new episodes of Law & Order: Criminal Intent!

Look, I am as sad as you are of the fucked-up Chinese government & how they treat their people, & I wish & hope that somehow the word could get out & life could get better for the Chinese. But you know what? NBC doesn't care. Most certainly our government doesn't care. & what's worse, we owe the Chinese government a shitload of cash money. NBC is doubtless under strict orders not to get too "moral" or soon they'll be renamed the Nanking Broadcasting Company. I am sad & I wish & I hope but you know nothing is going to change because of the goddamned Olympics. The only thing sports changes is sweat into dollars - mostly for people who don't have to break a sweat.

With that all said, why can't I see new episodes of Law & Order: Criminal Intent instead? Mike Logan is leaving again! Eames is still mad at Goren! I still have a difficult-to-explain-to-my-girlfriend crush on Wheeler! Why celebrate & obfuscate the oppressive Chinese regime when more important things are happening in my imaginary emotional slash crime fighting life!

Look, I know they're shown on USA. I make sure I record them from USA. But my bullshit cable company doesn't have USA in high def. So the only chance I'm going to get to gaze longingly at Vincent D'Onofrio - er, I mean, Julianne Nicholson - in crisp, scarier than life video, is when it's shown on the bullshit local NBC affiliate. You get me? I've been taping one episode, then waiting eight days to see it in high def. & now the motherfucking Olympics has fucked that up for me.

I protest. I protest vehemently. Also, I won't be watching the Olympics grand opening sale-a-bration tonight, no. I'll be working on tomorrow's Self Help Radio, which is all about blossoms & blooms, something they know nothing about in China, & it'll be available tomorrow afternoon exclusively at But it'll be sad. For there will be no high def Law & Order: Criminal Intent for it to look forward to when it is done.

Weep for me! Weep for China! Weep for this world of fucked priorities! But mostly, weep for me. Seriously.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Saaaaay, Should You Be In North Carolina Or Something By Now?

Wow, I thought you'd never ask! If there weren't already an elephant in the room here with us, that would be the elephant in the room! (The elephant wants a peanut.)

No one but you cares, but I'll write about it here anyway. You'll recall that my lovely squeeze, Magda, had made plans to get her PhD this summer (she got it, a doctorate in whiskerology) (note, I started dating her because I thought she said "whiskeyology") (I'm an idiot) & had found a post-doc at Duke University, which is in North Carolina. I did lots of stuff in preparation for this - I drank more, I left my show & the radio station which kindly aired it, I began to make preparations for leaving my job, & I also drank more. A major freaky thing I was doing was mentally preparing myself to leave this place I've lived more than half of my life. I was riding the bus & going like (in my head, not to the drunk next to me) "This is the last time I'll ride the number 343 home from the comic convention!" Stuff like that. I wanted to be as supportive to Magda as possible, & I was definitely excited about going somewhere else.

The way things went, though, was somewhat different. We travelled to Durham in June, & toured the Duke campus, & visited the free-roaming lemurs in the Duke Forest, & had a swell time in that city built smack dab in a forest. But on the second day, Magda was deeply unhappy. We had one of those patented couple-related "long talks." It took a long time. I think we were up until 4am. I think she ate all the donut holes they had left at the nearby Kroger. In any event, she wasn't sure she wanted to be an academic. She had been complaining all during the writing of her dissertation of wanting to do something else - most often she mentioned being a veterinarian - rather than being a full-time anthropologist. I knew the only important thing was her being happy, so I let her argue with herself with only minor input, being devil's advocate for whatever position was winning at the time. It's only been a couple of months now, but it feels very blurry to me. It was a long night.

She decided not to take the job & to return to school to become a veterinarian. Luckily I had not quit my job or else I might have ended up in North Carolina on the bum circuit. She'll need to take two years of catch up classes before she gets to vet school, so I suppose she can reconsider at that time. But frankly I think she'll do it. The chick likes being in school.

I have kept doing Self Help Radio as a podcast (in case you haven't noticed) but it probably won't return to the air for some time. Worry not, though! There are other surprises in store! The Self Help Radio family of broadcasters & alcoholics is ever-growing & you can watch the weirdo progress at regular intervals at!

& as for me, yeah, I'm still in Austin. Sorry to disappoint that guy on the corner of 51st & Cameron who thinks I stole his spot. Dude, I was just crossing the street to urinate into the Home Depot concrete! I always carry a sign that says, "US VETRAN GOD BLES!" It reminds me of dear old dad. Or dear old mom. Or someone dear & old.

That's why I am still here. Why are YOU still here?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Whither Blossom & Bloom?

Tee hee, the title of this post could be "Wither, Blossom & Bloom." I should change it. I won't change it.

Well, Tropical Petulance Edouard (now known as Tropical Fart Reoutard) didn't hardly bring any rain to Austin so I was excited about nothing. But it did make the place more humid than a heavy breathing factory (you know, a factory whose product is heavy breathing... no? isn't funny? all right) & it encouraged me to press on with what is truly a bizarre subject for the middle of a nastily hot summer: blossoms & blooms!

Y'know, folks who want to complain about Self Help Radio (which always seems like more than have listened to it) (although, of course, the number of both is tiny) (though your presence here makes it all worthwhile, wink wink!) seem to mostly have a problem with the fact that only sometimes do I do explore timely themes. In other words, since the show this week is on the 9th of August, why don't I do a show about telegraphs, since on that date in 1892, Thomas Edison got a patent for one? Or how about a celebration of Kurtis Blow (it's his birthday) & old skool hip hop? Or maybe just a show about nines, since it's the ninth? It doesn't have to be nonsensical. Like "blossoms & blooms" in the middle of summer, months after the last blossom has bloomed, & the last bloom has blossomed!

I appreciate this criticism. It would be fun indeed to have that sort of show, where people could check in on particular days & be all like, "Yay! This is the anniversary of when some rock star died in his own vomit, so Self Help Radio's all about regurgitation!" But, alas, my mind doesn't work that way. It latches on to ideas & thoughts & develops them whether I am incredibly drunk or not. Eventually they suggest something to me. I've worked to have certain "regular" shows, but the shows that generally give me the greatest joy are the shows have a timelessness about them - they're shows about something, & that something doesn't require that you be fixed firmly in some spot in time to appreciate them. At least I hope so. It could be I'm just spinning my wheels.

Something blossomed in my brain a few weeks back about blossoms & blooms. I said, "Bloomin' hell!" (in a fakey English voice) "I've got to do me a show about that!" Then I fell on my face &, as I began to choke a little on my own vomit, I thought, as I passed out, "Also, regurgitation might be a good theme for a show..."

(Separate note: big ups to Austin EMS crew Alpha Tango Bravo. Thanks for not removing my tongue when I refused to stop swallowing it!)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Preface To Blossoms & Blooms: Let's Talk About The Weather

What is the nooz telling us about Austin's weather?

Monday the 4th of August was the 42nd day of triple-digit heat so far in this Austin summer, with readings of 100-105 degrees all over, from the Hill County to counties east of I-35. Self Help Radio's own Self Help Gary has reported that it's well over one hundred degrees in his pants, with possibly higher temperatures in his car, where neglected bottles of soda have been known to bend, fold & weep.

Monday's high matched the number of over 100 degree days Austin experienced in 2000, but was like a crying little girl compared to 1925 with 69 plus-100 days & 1923 with 66 (in the days before air conditioning!). But of course Austinites weren't coddled whiney-butts then. They weren't afraid of a little goddamn sweat. For 69 days. Also, they died of cholera & influenza all the time. When they weren't lynching people a little darker in skin tone than them.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. The National Weather Service, that august bureaucratic body, notes that Austin averages eleven triple-digit days a year, but everyone has already forgotten that it rained all last summer so that totally brought the average down. It's always really hot in Austin in the summer. That's all.

As I came out to go to work today, I noticed it wasn't as hot. Why is that? Motherfucking tropical storm Edouard, that's why! We're going to get some rain! Hot damn! Just remember, gentle reader: "Turn around, don't drown." & peep these awesome flood facts:

BANG! Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control & possible stalling.
CRASH! Twelve inches of water will float many cars. So size does matter.
SPLASH! Two feet of rushing water will carry off pick up trucks, SUVs & many other vehicles. & surely it will serve them right! Gas-guzzlers!
SWOOSH! Cars can become death traps because electric windows & door locks can short out when water reaches them, trapping occupants inside. Of course, if they're death traps, they'll also trap death inside. Which is bad news for the occupants.
CLANG! More Texans die in floods than any other severe weather event. When we have weather, it freaks us out.
& finally:
KA-BOOM! Most flooding deaths can be avoided if drivers turn around instead of driving into water across a road.

I am about to encourage that people who want to go out in the rain to follow instead my own advice, which is, when the weather's bad, dance! That's right: "Get down, don't drown!" Because we're all in the fourth grade in we can't remember anything unless it rhymes.

Wash us all away Edouard! It's too frickin' hot here! & it's been too long since I've seen any blossoms & blooms!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Quest Stars!

After a week of avoiding stuff, I am happy to get back on track & simply ignore stuff. What? You don't know whatof I speak? For shame! Fie & kerfuffle! You are now instructed to visit to listen to last week's show. It is all about avoidance, & since you are no longer allowed to avoid it, you must therefore do whatever the opposite of avoid is. Yes! You must confront it! You must seek it out! You must face up to it!

As I said, though, since the themes that make up Self Help Radio make up also my made-up life, I tend to live them up until the moment I do my show. Then I must turn around & begin again. So last week I avoided everything. This week I am blossoming. Next week I will sit in a chair. But just because I live my shows in the way that so many of you choose not to doesn't mean I miss them or have great regret & rue once they're done. Indeed! I am glad to be done with avoidance. It seemed like such a waste of time.

Now, I live in a tightly prescribed circle of work commitments & looming mental ward incarceration, so I am generally free of the sort of annoyances that cause unhappiness for you who interact with more than half a dozen folks a day. So I didn't have as much to avoid. Since I work in a bureaucracy, work avoidance is part of the daily schedule. Since my relationship is stable (mainly because the girlfriend is busy not avoiding stuff), I don't have to avoid difficult talks about "the future." I avoided mentioning all this last week, but can't now. The truth must blossom & bloom!

Go now, & listen to the Self Help Radio show from last week! It will help you avoid whatever you want to avoid!