Saturday, January 04, 2020

Preface To Iron: Television Shows About Places Where You Used To Live

Though I should be working on this week's Self Help Radio, I got sucked into a Louis Theroux documentary the wife was watching.  It's about the heroin crisis in Huntington, West Virginia.  It's a difficult watch, & I don't enjoy seeing people sticking needles in their veins, so I had to turn away a couple of times, or else I might have fainted.  I get very light-headed watching that shiz.

The reason I stuck around to watch it was because it was in Huntington, a town I lived in for about a year & a month, from July 2009 to August 2010.  & I confess I saw very little drug use while I was there.

My life was small, though.  I volunteered at the Marshall radio station WMUL & did little else.  Mainly I hung out with my dogs & cats.  We got to be best friends, then.  I wasn't home a lot in Austin.

The wife hated it in Huntington so much that pretty much every weekend - unless the weather was bad - we went elsewhere, to Lexington, to Athens (Ohio), to Columbus, to Cincinnati, to Charleston.  We spent a great deal of time in a car - most places weren't on a major highway, so they took a while to get to.

After we left in the summer of 2009, I always meant to go back.  I felt like I drove around a lot - I would go shopping at Kroger at night, & try to drive home different routes, try to take in the city when it was asleep or at least falling asleep.  It simply wasn't that large.  I would walk occasionally to Marshall when I volunteered, & would walk by old old houses that were empty & falling apart.  I always wished that I had some ability to make a difference in the city, but I just didn't.

For example: WMUL didn't have many student deejays, & operated mostly on automation.  At the beginning of the semester, they'd have one meeting, & sign up lots of students, but as the semester wore on, students would simply stop coming to their shows.  The core volunteers were mainly interested in sports - the station was a kind of training ground for people who wanted to call sports professionally.  I only met a couple of indie kids there.

The Station Manager would listen patiently to my ideas on how to increase participation, & then shoot them down with an anecdote (usually something that happened a while back, which he himself didn't actually take part in) about how it had been done & didn't work.  I was usually crestfallen after such conversations.  I didn't want to try anything without his backing - & at the end of my short tenure there, I attempted to help out on a live music show, & did a good deal of work, including arranging for the station to partner with another department that videotaped local bands, the Station Manager told me he didn't think it would work out - you know, because something similar had been tried before & failed.

What I wanted to do was try to invite more non-students to deejay, but of course the station used to do that & those people got mad when students were given preferential time slots.  I suggested that perhaps you make it clear to the non-students - like me - that that's the case, but no, it was just not a good idea.

Looking back on the blog, I found this post where I announced my leaving WMUL - but I don't think I ever explained there - or anywhere - why I left.  I didn't know we would be leaving Huntington when I quit WMUL - it was the middle of June - & my wife was about to spend a month in Madagascar, so I was going to be quite lonely & isolated.  I was just tired of beating my head against a wall of indifference.  I wanted to help, & I was able to do some things, but the station didn't really have listeners - it didn't stream its music shows online, for example, because it didn't want to pay the licensing fees - & like I said, there weren't a lot of programmers.  I already did my shows mostly alone, at night.  I would go to the school's Department of Public Safety & get a key, let myself in, turn the automation off & do a show, then turn it back on & leave.  It was plenty lonely already.

Anyway, I watched the documentary to see if I could find anything of the Huntington I had lived in, & I really couldn't.  I didn't see any familiar places, & I didn't say things like, "Oh yeah!  I've been there!"  Honestly, though, my world was, as I've said, very small.

One thing I did hope to see what a Chinese restaurant that I ate at too often which is where I first had bean curd home style.  I checked Google Maps to find that it's still there, & was surprised it looked like this:

It had more than one story!  I didn't recall that.  It seems so unassuming.

There was a similar favorite place in Fort Worth that we went to at least once a week.  I always wonder if they make any note of our disappearance.

In 2002 I had back surgery & discovered I didn't enjoy vicodin.  So I suppose I wouldn't enjoy heroin either.  The documentary says 1 in 4 people in Huntington struggle with addiction to opiates.  It seems I was either there before the crisis got super ugly or I mainly interacted with the other 75%.

Friday, January 03, 2020

The Trouble With Tribbles

A long time ago, I had a different blog that wasn't really for a radio show.  It was instead a place where I tried to write funny things.  Later on, I did a radio show that shared the name of the blog, & occasionally posted playlists there, but eventually I went back to write funny things.  I should say "funny things."  Mostly they weren't very funny.  I will pick one at random as proof (this is from almost exactly seven years ago):

Inconvenient Prophecies! New Year's Irresolution!
Banish yes the furthermore thoughts of ill-repute in this divine sector of soul galaxy number one! Sub rosa ab ovo the fiercest of charlatans will converge on chatter-town & blatherskite within mere moments of the veil-lift in upper lower & sideways round! Come ye closer no more to always hear what lies aboveboard resisting both law & urge as scoop reveals what stab cannot!

Brethren? Is that thee? Hasn't harpies made killjoy of arse all? Sit if you can't stand, stand if you must, but one more glowing comet in the sky hand-shackles the dimly-lit mind of human racers! Didst thou not ken it were an competition? Sit or stand as my main man unfolds the map of the plan on the bandstand hand-to-hand & back again! The soundtrack of your laughter!

Were you never called Betsy as a rule? Didn't someone ever break a rose in your face? If wine makes you cry, do you keep bottles filled with winter & dew? When someone takes your pulse, do they hear the roaring twenties? Let us now in effect disregard the efficacious yes/no question as volcanoes ignore somnambulism! Let us give the slip to the on/off switch in print form!

Didst thou they think thirsty & thin thieve & thump in thy youth? Then it turns out there's no money in puzzling the proselytized! You have been given an entirely new year for manhandling, fondling & freakiness, faithful flukes - scratch out in greatest detail what graffiti has been painted in the brains behind your eyes! O indignity shake my left hand heartily! O grateful animals we!

That was strange.  & not really funny.  But wow.  I have no memory of writing that.  Anyhoo.

At some point I wrote a blog post about a historical figure who couldn't possibly have had photographs taken of her, since she lived during the Enlightenment, so I titled a post "The Last Nude Photographs Of" her.  It turned out that for some reason a porn star adopted her name, & suddenly people were finding my blog because it had "nude" & the porn star's name in its title.

It was a brief moment of popularity.  Of course, no one read the blog, they were looking for pictures of someone who made a living naked, naked, & there weren't any.  But wow did I get lots of hits!

& so let's try it again.  Will people looking for Trekker commentary about "The Trouble With Tribbles" find this blog?  Who knows!  It's Friday night!  I'm a little drunk!  Oh the thinks I think I can think about some of the time!

Thursday, January 02, 2020

But Who Counted?

Before I marvel at the final tally of my radio shows (& non-radio shows, as the case my be), I want to remind you that you can listen to episodes of my show Sugar Substitute at the Sugar Substitute page at the XRAY web site.  Since it's already there, I don't host it over at Self Help Radio dot net.

The Dickenbock Report has yet to be given its own page over at the KBOO web site, but if you want to listen to last night's episode, it's going to be on this page here.  Maybe forever?  I dunno.  It's a silly show.

Now: the count.  Here's what I got:

45 episodes of Self Help Radio (27 "podcasts," 18 on Freeform)
14 episodes of Sugar Substitute on XRAY
13 episodes of the Tuesday Morning Blend on KNON
01 episode of The Dickenbock Report on KBOO
27 subbed shows (14 on Freeform, 7 on KBOO, 6 on XRAY)

Grand total: 100 radio shows in 2019!

But wait! Twenty-seven episodes of Self Help Radio were never on the air, so it's really more like 73 radio shows in 2019.  Impressive, but not as cool as one hundred.

If I take no weeks off in 2019, & if I have the same schedule, there will be at the very least this total:

52 Self Help Radios
52 Sugar Substitutes
27 Dickenbock Reports

That's 131 radio shows.  It doesn't count subs or fills, which I will continue to do.

This is madness.  Is it sustainable?  It can't possibly be sustainable.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Self Help Radio 123019: Indiepop A To Z # 61

(Almost all images found on Discogs.)

The last Self Help Radio of 2019 almost undone by disaster!

It's true.  The online stream went down about two-thirds through the show, & that's how I record the show.  So basically my last two airbreaks are lost to the ether.  I was able to re-create the music for the show, & I recorded a couple of "fill-in" airbreaks this afternoon, but what amusing anecdotes & delightful bon mots I might have said in those last two airbreaks are forever gone.  Weep not, I say shit on the radio all the time, it's not big deal.

Except: it's funny how I was just talking about how grateful I am to be doing Self Help Radio live after doing it prerecorded from 2016 to 2019 - & I end the year having to record some airbreaks.  Funny, I tell you!  It's hilarious!

The show is where it should be, at the Self Help Radio website, & you should know by now: username is SHR, password is selfhelp.  There's just me on the show, & lots of songs with band/musician names in alphabetical order.  What happened on the show is below.

Happy new year!

Self Help Radio Indiepop A To Z # 61
"Simon Says" 1910 Fruitgum Co. _Best Of The Bubblegum Years_
"Yesterdays Forever" Ninjas _What You've Missed So Far: The First Hundred Releases Of Blackbean & Placenta_
"I've Got Wings" Ninotchka _Do Not Fear The Future_

"J.O.S. Days" The Nits _In The Dutch Mountains_
"Yesterday" The Nivens _From A Northumbrian Mining Village Comes The Sound Of Summer_
"Still In Love Tomorrow" Nixon _Only Ugly People Smoke_
"Parasol" Niza _Canciones De Temporada_
"Rubble" No Flags Etc. _The Sound Of Leamington Spa, Vol. 5_

"Meet The Folks Part 1" No Middle Name _Meet The Folks_
"Changes" No Vacation _Phasing_
"Always Make Your Bed" Nodzzz _Innings_
"Back In Your Life" Noise Addict _10,000 Kids With Guitars_
"Best Man" Nomad Pop _Best Man_

"Ice Cube Says" The Nomber 5s _If We Get It On Tape_
"Your Hand For An Hour" The Non Stop Kazoo Organization _Something Strange E.P._
"Fear Of Dating" The Nonpareils _Little Darla Has A Treat For You, Volume 4 Summer 1996_
"Pack It Up" Mark Norkowicz _Captain Circus! Chocolat Art Returns Compilation Vol. 1_
"Television (Saved My Life)" Norman Bates _Airpop Terminal 2_

"Billy Liar" North Of Cornwallis _The Sound Of Leamington Spa, Vol. 1_
"Never Take The Beauty" Northern Fields _EardrumsPop 100_
"Paris" Northern Picture Library _Still Life_
"Crazy" Northern Portrait _Criminal Art Lovers_
"Nadadora" Nosoträsh _Momentos Perdidos_

"Bite" Nothing _Bite_
"Sorely Tempted" Nothing Painted Blue _The Future Of Communications_
"Sur Ton Répondeur" Notre-Dame _Casablanca: La Colección de Cludades - Módulo 2_
"Making Plans For Nigel" Nouvelle Vague _Nouvelle Vague_

"I've Realized" The Occasional Keepers _True North_
"Drifting, Falling" The Ocean Blue _The Ocean Blue_
"Chimes" The Odolites _Chimes_

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Whither Indiepop A To Z # 61

(Image from here.)

Yes, it's that time again: I continue my probably never-to-be-finished Indiepop A To Z series.  We're at the end of letter N, although I doubt we'll finish it this time around.  I keep doing this because, by my nature, I'm a character in some Samuel Beckett work.  Probably named Krapp.

Yes, I'm a little worried that it won't make any sense, since Portland hasn't heard the first sixty installments, although that didn't bother me in Lexington.  It just seems like no one would tune in to part sixty-one of something.  Not even on Netflix!

Nevertheless, Self Help Radio presents the Indiepop A To Z # 61 tomorrow from 6-8am on 90.3/98.8 fm Freeform Portland,  Lots of indiepop goodness from all over the globe.  Guaranteed.