Friday, April 26, 2019

Self Help Radio 042619: April 26th

Holy moly, I am counting six times Self Help Radio has fallen on April 26th!  This is interesting (to me at least) because there are days of the year when no Self Help Radio has aired.  Despite doing around fifty shows a year for nearly eighteen years.  That's more shows than there are days in the year!  For example, there has never been an episode of Self Help Radio on February 3rd.  That's odd, right?  Is it because that's Norman Rockwell's birthday?  I don't know!

But on April 26th, the following themes were explored:

Pennies (April 26, 2006)
Busy Busy Busy (April 26th, 2010)
Indiepop A To Z # 31 (April 26, 2011)
Indiepop A To Z # 40 (April 26, 2013)
Indiepop A To Z # 50 (April 26, 2016)
& Indiepop A To Z # 53 (April 26, 2017)

You'll notice a bit of a trend toward the end there - it's been my habit since 2014 to return to my never-to-be-finished series "Indiepop A To Z" every four months.  I almost made it every three months & maybe one day I will.  It will take me a decade to get through the letter S.

All of the indiepop a to z episodes are over on the Self Help Radio Archive Page.  There's a lot more to listen to.  Remember: username is SHR, password is selfhelp.

We are just a little over a week away from leaving.  My room is a mess.  I'm a little nervous.  But gosh I think it was a good idea to stop doing the show for a time.  I would be even worse now if I did the show up until the very last minute!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

True Doctor Story

This was just shared by me on Facebook:

Today I got a physical & afterwards they handed me some paperwork I didn't bother to read.

Sometime in the afternoon, I got a call from the doctor's office.

"Mr. Dickerson?" the person on the line said. "We're so sorry about the mistake on your patient report."

"What mistake?" I asked.

"Instead of noting your blood pressure," she said, "we accidentally wrote that you're HIV positive."

"Oh my!" I said.

"We're very sorry," she said. "If you'd like to come in for a corrected report, we can give it to you."

"No, no," I responded. "This one is all right. Anyway, I'd really like to scare my wife."

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Too Many Cassettes: An Introspection

We are moving, as you know, in less than two weeks.  I have too many cassettes.  They fall into these categories:

1) Very old cassettes of me as a kid recording shit with friends & alone
2) Cassettes of things I recorded from vinyl that I either sold back or borrowed from someone (later I would do the same with CDs)
3) Cassettes people made for me
4) Cassettes I made for people but never sent (not a large number)
5) Recordings of radio shows I've done (I stopped recording them on cassette - this is true - around 2006!)
6) Commercial cassettes I either bought, got somewhere, or were given to me
7) Mix tapes I made for myself back in my walkman days (this includes tapes of albums that I taped because I couldn't carry a turntable with me on the bus)

There are a lot of cassettes.  Too many.  & I am getting rid of some, especially the ones that I have other forms, in better quality media.  Why keep them?  It's silly.

The ones that are most interesting to me are the old recordings, because I haven't listened to them in years, perhaps decades.  Some of them I don't even remember making.  There was a time when I had cassettes & a recorder nearby always, because I would send tapes to friends or I would want to talk into the recorder or whatever.  Cassettes were ubiquitous.  It's why I have so many!

But my weird insight today is this: I have romanticized my life with cassette tapes.

Let me clarify: I don't miss them.  I never liked their sub-par sound quality.  I never liked the fact that, if you had a certain number of minutes per side, you'd have to fill all of it, or get long hissing silences.  (CDs stop when the tracks you've burned onto them end, you know.)  I of course hate rewinding.  I have cassettes that I have obviously "operated" on - I cracked the case & used tape to splice broken ends together.  Scotch tape!  Nothing fancy!

What I'm talking about is that I felt like there were treasures on these tapes.  I wish I could explain it better.  I thought the me on these tapes was worth preserving, & carrying around from Austin to Huntington to Lexington to Fort Worth, from numerous residences in those cities, & now to the Pacific Northwest.  & you know what?  It's not.  The me on the tapes isn't really worth preserving.

If most of those tapes disappeared tomorrow, I might be a little sad, but I don't think I would miss them much.  I don't even know if I'll ever listen to them again as it is.

Tonight I digitized one of them, a faux recording session with two friends in high school.  They are musicians, I am someone trying (& failing) to be funny while yelping in a microphone.  These days I am way too self-conscious to do such a thing - I guess I hadn't yet become entirely aware how utterly talentless I was - so there is a kind of wistfulness to experiencing my exuberance.  I knew I was pretending to be a rock & roll star but I still also kinda believed I could be a rock & roll star.  Life had yet to knock me down a few pegs, a few feet, a few flights of stairs, a few levels.

The radio show tapes may demostrate the same thing, & maybe one day I'll digitize more of them.

Still.  I'm taking a lot of them to Portland.  But I'm hoping to leave a lot of them behind.  Half, maybe?  Or more?

"What a treasure trove!" a friend said today when I sent a pic of a big box of cassettes to her through text.  Oh yeah.  It's treasure.  But it's fucking cursed.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Still Thinking About This House That Is Emptying Slowly

As I write this, a nasty storm is rolling through Fort Worth.  I am not a meteorologist or anything, but I do notice that storms are nastier in this part of the world than in other places.  In Lexington - which, don't get me wrong, has nasty storms as well as tornados & such - it seemed like it could rain all day & it would just be rain.  No thunder, no lightning, just endless rain.  That hardly ever happens here.

Another thing to note: it usually doesn't rain during the day here.  It happens at night, like now, where there's always a chance the power will go out.  I type frantically in anticipation of that event.

This is a dumb thing I remember about rain in West Virginia, where, like in Lexington, it didn't seem to storm much.  I told a friend that the rain was more beautiful unaccompanied by lighting & thunder, that it seemed more "poetic."  She made fun of me for weeks after that, she'd ask, "How is your poetic rain?"  I deserved that.

My little dog Winston hates the thunder, & needs to be cuddled while it's storming.  He gets nervous & shivers & for some reason wants to go outside, to panic in the rain.  Like he thinks the thunder is coming from inside the house.  It's a shame he feels this way, & it's something he's picked up in his later years, possibly since we've returned here.  I don't know if it storms like this in Portland.

Speaking of: two weeks from tonight, I will be sleeping in a hotel room & not in this house.  We moved in here at the end of the year 2016, so we only lived here for two years or so, but I have loved this place like no other home I've had.  I don't know why that is - I haven't been crazy about the town, or the sad lack of opportunities for Self Help Radio, or the perpetual months of heat, but I've loved this house, this little room where I've made the show, the kitchen where I cooked, the backyard where the dogs played.  I know a home is just a place & you find your home where the things & people you love are, & I trust my wife to find another place in Portland for us, but that doesn't make it any easier knowing we'll be saying goodbye to this place soon.

Now I need to see if the dogs will brave the rain before they go to bed for the night!  Rain is something else we'll have to get used to, too.

Monday, April 22, 2019

A Modest Observation

In about two weeks, we leave this home where I've lived for over two years.  We are boxing things up & getting rid of things & taking things off walls.  In certain rooms, there is a pronounced echo that wasn't there a week ago.  In these ways does a house stop being a home.

& it makes me think: how strange it is that the last moments one lives in a place so resemble the first moments one lives in a place.  Because when we moved into this house a little over two years ago, it so resembled what I am seeing now.

Except.  I was unfamiliar with everything, & now I know this place as much as I've known anywhere I've lived.  It's a strange sadness, a feeling of loss, & luckily keeping busy keeps that at bay.