Friday, March 27, 2015

Self Help Radio 032715: Blue Skies

(Actual photo of the skies above SHR HQ)

So magical!  I did a show this morning about blue skies & all the rain + grey clouds of the day just disappeared.  The wonder of radio!  The delusional powers of chance!

I guess I was welcoming spring, & so I played a lot of songs about blue skies today.  You can see the songs I played below.  I also played a Dr. Howard Gently inspirational tape, I interviewed David Fruchter of the Blue Sky Initiative, & had a conversation with a disembodied voice on the air.  Wow!  There's so much room in a big blue sky!

The show is now at the Self Help Radio website.  Pay attention to the login/password information on the front page.  Unless you just want to look at playlists, & maybe play the show in your head, like some people do with baseball looking at statistics.  That might be preferable to listening to me talk!

Also, if you heard the show live this morning, you'll know that a large chunk of my programming was filled with University of Kentucky students reading "the news" from wire services.  They have been edited out of the broadcast & more music added.  It's like 12% more show!

As always, thanks for listening!

(part one)

"Why Is The Sky Blue" Marais & Miranda _More Nature Songs_
"Blue Skies" Frank Sinatra _Blue Skies: 45 Hits From The 30s & 40s_
"Blue Skies (Moving In On Me)" Jack Scott _Jack Scott On Groove_
"Nothing But Blue Skies" Jackie Wilson _The Very Best Of Jackie Wilson_

"Blue Skies" Charlie Fawn _Charlie Fawn_
"Blue Skies" Club 8 _Nouvelle_
"Blue Skies" The Young Republic _12 Tales From Winter City_
"Blue Skies" Undersea Poem _Undersea Poem_

"Blue Suburban Skies" Even As We Speak _A Three Minute Song Is One Minute Too Long_
"Blue Skies Over The Ocean" The Cannanes _A Love Affair With Nature_
"Hey Blue Sky" Honeybunch _Time Trials: 1987-1995_
"Even The Sky Seems Blue" St. Christopher _Dig Deep, Brother (1984-1990)_

"Blue Sky Mine" Midnight Oil _Blue Sky Mining_
"Bullet The Blue Sky" Richard Cheese _Lounge Against The Machine_

(part two)

"Bright Lit Blue Skies" Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti _Before Today_
"Mr. Blue Sky" The Delgados _The Complete BBC Peel Sessions_

"In Bluer Skies" Echo & The Bunnymen _Porcupine_
"Bluer Skies" The Feelies _Here Before_
"No Blue Skies" Lloyd Cole _Lloyd Cole_

"Beneath The Blue Sky" The Go-Go's _Talk Show_
"Skies To Blue" The Rileys _The World & His Wife_
"Blue Sky" Go Sailor _Go Sailor_
"Blue Sky Yesterday" Secret Goldfish _Jet Streams_
"Big Blue Sky" Pee Shy _Don't Get Too Comfortable_

"Blue Skied & Clear" Slowdive _Pygmalion_
"Blue Skies" Dustin & Tania _Blue Skies_

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Whither Blue Skies?

Hooray that skies are blue!  How freaky would it be to live somewhere where the sky wasn't blue?  Like Mars?  That might be cool.  For a little while.

I grew up in Texas, which has more sky than almost any state in the Union.  After a brief sojourn to West Virginia, where there didn't seem to be as much sky for some reason (mountains), I've found myself in Kentucky, where there's a lot of blue sky - when it's not snowing - or raining - or threatening to snow or rain - Texas being a bluer sky sort of place maybe because of the lessened amount of precipitation.

Could it also be that, as spring has just begun, Self Help Radio wants to celebrate the next two seasons, the ones that promise the most blue skies?

Anyway, there are plenty of songs about blue skies because maybe they're the best skies, although I am partial to starry skies & even though it means snow I like the steel-grey skies of winter.  I look out the window & the skies today are quite white, which doesn't seem quite right, but it's because the sky is a bright grey today, it being a bit rainy.  That's not a bad sky.

Maybe there are no bad skies - wait.  Tornado skies are awesome, but they're horrible.  So there are bad skies.

Not tomorrow, though!  Self Help Radio's show about blue skies will be on the air from 7 to 9am Friday on 88.1 fm in Lexington + online at wrfl dot fm.  Later, when perhaps the cloudy skies go away, it'll be at the Self Help Radio website.

Now.  I'm going to go sit somewhere & daydream about flying for a little while.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I Know I Shouldn't Care About This

& really, I don't.  I just find it weird & fascinating & hope it's not doing too much damage to my already crippled self-esteem.

But first, a prologue.  A while ago, I was involved in a Usenet group onto which I very irresponsibly dumped lots of bad poetry.  (Bad poetry, as always, available on request.)  As an experiment, one summer, when I had time, I spent a couple of months archiving posts I liked.  It was a little exhausting, as I felt the need to read everything, something I never did before, because I wanted to be fair.  I hand-coded the page, found dumb images, commented on the posts, etc.  Because I had discovered an easy way to put a counter on the page, I added a counter, mainly to have the phrase "[counter number] of people are checking here today to see if I liked their posts" or something like that.

One of the members of the newsgroup, someone I never had any contact with, laughed at the counter number, & boasted that his (I think it was a he) websites got thousands of millions of hits!  It was, in the terms of the newsgroup world, dicksizing, but for some reason, since the website wasn't supposed to be for anyone but the small group of Usenet folks, I felt misunderstood & hurt by the reaction.

(Also, when I stopped doing it, another person, who must have thought I meant to do it forever, wrote something like, "Ha ha, I knew you couldn't maintain this!"  It was one of my first experiences in the weird world of people rooting for you to fail.)

It's more than a decade later, & while no one (as far as I know) is paying any attention to this but me, I have both a Facebook page & a Twitter page.  Both are linked to my regular web page, which, you will note, does not have a counter on it.  I learn my lessons!

My Facebook page has currently has 246 "likes."  A little over half of those "likes" are friends of mine on Facebook whom I requested "like" the page.  When I get new "likes," it's pretty exciting.  But here's a weird thing: two weeks ago, I had 253 "likes."  What's happening?

My Twitter page has currently 255 "followers."  I think using the word "follower" is a little bizarre, because it makes one sound like one is starting a cult or something, & most of my "followers" on Twitter are not fans of my show.  Many of them are people who just reciprocal "follows" with me.  A lot of them are bands or labels whom I've supported by playing them on the radio.  I "follow" more than twice as many people on Twitter than "follow" me.

The point is: it disturbs me that I seem to be losing "likes" on Facebook, which is a more personal social media site, than I have "followers" on Twitter.  It disturbs me not in a "what can I do about this?" sort of way, but in a "why is this happening?" sort of way.  Because I know I should not give a shit.  & I do my best to not give a shit.  (Which is good for my self-esteem.)

Here's an example of something I didn't take personally: I have a friend, or more an acquaintance, really, who I knew in Austin, who now lives in Chicago & writes for the the AV Club.  He's a very good writer & I enjoy his work a lot.  He used to have a couple of bands in Austin, both of whom I really dug.  I recently played one of them on the radio, & tagged him (or whatever you call it when you @thenameoftheperson in your tweet), & he responded humorously, & "followed" me, & almost immediately "unfollowed" me.

I was not in the slightest bit offended.  It seemed to me a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

Wait a second.  I just happened to notice something Facebook has written, when I was looking at page "insights":

"We’ve recently updated the way we measure how many people like your Page. Pages may see a decrease in likes after March 12, when we removed likes from inactive Facebook accounts."

Oh.  I see.  Then this whole thing I've written has been a waste of time.

Well!  It's a good thing no one reads this blog!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Goldfish Story

Someone who knows my wife won a goldfish.  A goldfish was a prize for something.  A strange, lonesome life in a small glass cube.  That person asked my wife to watch the goldfish while she (the person) was away during spring break.  My wife brought the fish in, & set it in the middle of the dining room table.

We live in a house full of cats.  There are four of them.  Immediately I felt anxious for the poor goldfish.  My wife decided to cover the cube of water with some foil, with a couple of holes for air, but it bothered me even more.  (Probably irrationally - I've never owned a fish, & I didn't know if covering a cubic bowl with holey foil was safe.)  (But I didn't look it up on the net or anything.)  (Sometimes I think I get a little high on my anxiety & don't necessarily want it to be suddenly cured.)

I told my wife for safety we might put the fish in a spare room.  By itself.  My wife, as unfamiliar with owning a fish as I was, worried she might forget to feed the fish, & so, while she agreed to put the goldfish somewhere safe, she did write on our refrigerator whiteboard, "FISH! FISH! FISH!"

The fish found itself sitting on a bookcase next to a window by itself in a spare room with the door closed.  Which also made me very sad.  The fish by itself in a cube-shaped container (with a large plastic fish as its only companion) on a table in a busy house bothered me.  The fish in the room by itself bothered me.

The wife & I were about to go to Atlanta, & we had a person coming out to feed the cats.  She's a professional pet sitter but did that include fish?  Fish hidden in a spare room?

Our sweet neighbors - who also have a lovely beagle girl - agreed to watch the fish, & out of sight was out of mind.  Until I dreamt about the fish this morning.

Look, although I am vegan, & firmly believe in the rights of animals not to be abused by humans, I'm not against keeping them as pets.  (I have four cats & three dogs, you know.)  In the case of dogs, suddenly abandoning them would be absurd - they have co-evolved with us for millennia.  Cats are slightly different, because they're only a bit less feral when they're with humans, but I'm on the "better in here with us versus outside in the elements" side of the keeping them healthy & happy argument*.  My cats, even if they don't know, are much happier inside than the alternative.

But I get sad when I see a lonely dog in a backyard, completely ignored by the humans who own it.  Dogs want & need to be with humans &/or other dogs.  When our sweet neighbors adopted the beagle girl, they brought her into a home already comfortably filled two other dogs.  She was immediately so happy - she knew that she had found her forever pack.

Maybe the goldfish in the cubic bowl wouldn't have bothered me so much if it had had a goldfish companion.  After all, it's probably safer (to use my cat argument) in that small space than in the wild, where it might be lunch for a bigger fish, or one of those poor, doomed feral cats.  Yet something felt wrong, & caused me inner turmoil, to see it so solitary in such a small space.

I am thinking of going to a therapist.  Not because of this, this just happened as I was considering the idea.  But you know that this goldfish story would be a lengthy conversation.


* As I wrote this line, it began to rain outside.

Monday, March 23, 2015

I Was On The Radio Today

So I slept the afternoon away.

I thought I was pretty funny on the radio this morning but as usual I got very little feedback.  I don't think that folks in the office - mainly the student directors of the station - listen in there, though there's a radio that's on usually.  Ah well.  Perhaps it's better if I think I am funny instead of people telling me to my face that I'm really not all that funny.

I'm trying to get back into the swing of things, but it's weird how a week off can spoil you.  I might have mentioned how much I like the show Macy & Maria did.  The two of them are a little uncertain about their skills, but they did a super funny bit where one pretended she didn't exactly know what a twin was.  It was well done.

That's all I have for today.  My friend Russell, who pretends to be the Reverend Dr. Howard Gently on the air, has prepared a very funny "word of wisdom" for this week's show, & I just recorded the interview with David Fruchter, who's my favorite resident "expert."  Now I need to go find some food.

More interesting stuff tomorrow?  Maybe?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Self Help Radio 032015: Twins

(Original image here)

I wasn't in town on Friday, so I didn't get to helm this week's Self Help Radio, but an unlikely pair named Macy & Maria did, & the show went great.  Alas, I have no recording of it, so you're just going to have to stare at the playlist & wish you'd have been there.

I thank the two Ms for doing a great show!  & I thank you for listening in my absence - & for not judging me too harshly when you hear I'm nowhere near as fun as they were!


"The Twin Of An Angel" Freddie Hart _Trip To Heaven_
"Twin Cinema" The New Pornographers _Twin Cinema_
"Doppleganger" Nits _Doppelganger_
"Two Faced Twin" Gregory & The Hawk _Moenie & Kitchi_
"Golden Twin" Wild Ones _PDX Pop Now_

"Twin Flames (ft. Rachel Levy)" Blackbird Blackbird _Halo_
"Somewhat Conceivable's Evil Twin" The Barmitzvah Brothers _The Century Of Invention_
"Twin Killers" Deerhoof _The Runners Four_
"Twins" Happy New Year _Happy New Year_

"Doppelganger" Freezepop _Imaginary Friends_
"Quarm & Charm, The Robot Twins" Momus _The Philosophy Of Momus_
"Europa & The Pilot Twins" Thomas Dolby _The Golden Age Of Warriors_
"Siamese Twins" The Cure _Pornography__

"Twintown" The Chesterfields _Crocodile Tears_
"Deverall Twins" Blackbox Recorder _The Facts Of Life_
"The Twins (Prague)" Max Richter _Memoryhouse_
"Twin Of Myself" Black Moth Super Rainbow _Eating Us_
"Twins" Pure Bathing Culture _Autumn (Or What it Feels Like To Fall)_

"The Farival Twins" Liechtenstein _Fast Forward_
"Twins" Lia Ises _Necima_
"I Wish I Had An Evil Twin" The Magnetic Fields _i_
"Twin Cities" Hungry Kids Of Hungary _You're A Shadow_

"Twins" Little Richard & Philip Bailey _Twins Original Movie Soundtrack_
"Identical Twins" Half Japanese _Greatest Hits_
"Doppelganger" The Antlers _Familiars_

"I Wish I Were Twins" Fats Waller _1929-1934_
"Me & My Shadow" Frank Sinatra & Sammy Davis Jr _Me & My Shadow_