Saturday, August 29, 2020

Preface To Indiepop A To Z # 63: This Ripped Out Diary Page

It's very late where we all are.  I crossed over the Columbia River today*, & walked a bit along its northern shore with my dogs.  People swam & almost no one had a mask on, although I did.  My dogs did not.

Did I resist an urge to swim?  I did!  Did I resist an urge to commandeer a boat from the nearby marina & sail away?  I did!  Did I resist an urge to take pictures of families playing in the water because I felt like that would be creepy?  I did!

It was a nice walk nonetheless**.

On the other side of the river, in dear old Portland, we stopped to find donuts & people were out on the street, all of them or almost all of them wearing masks.  It was dark by then & my eyes don't work so well in the dark***.  The donuts, bought in a grocery store, were baked, but were fine.

Maybe I've not mentioned it here before but I love long dog walks in unfamiliar parts of town.  Not so much nature walks, although those are nice too.  I should probably be more methodical but I want to say after many years that I've walked in all the neighborhoods in Portland.  My wife refers to the walks as "palate cleansers," although she might be referencing something I said before.  It certainly sounds like something I'd say****.  I'm thinking we should do these walks more than once a week, if we can find the time.  Like I said, I love them.

Oh, the dogs love them, too.  It makes them happy*****.

* I was on a bridge in a car.  Nothing fancy.
** I took a few non-creepy pictures.
*** I forgot to turn the headlights on as we exited the grocery store, someone drove by & said "Lights, lights, lights!"
**** & not like something she'd day.
***** They get very excited & move faster & with more purpose than on our regular walks.  That's why I think it makes them happy.  They of course don't ever tell me how they're feeling.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Did I Grow Up On Or Near A Children's Book?

Recently I discovered I once had a classmate whose name sounded like it was from a children's book.  It had never occurred to me, so when I was talking about him I thought I had made the name up.  Then I thought of his next-door neighbor whose name was alliterative & then the street on which they lived & then the name of the creek near where they lived.  It would've fit perfectly in a children's book.

We had been friends I believe in first grade.  Maybe second.  I remember one day - I don't know why I did this - I brought all my comic books up to school.  They all fit in a large paper grocery bag.  I guess I wanted to show them to him.  Some time later, he sent me a package with an issue of Detective Comics in it.  We went to the same schools - elementary, middle, & high - but were really never friends after those first few grades.  He grew up tall & thin.  At some point in high school, I ran into him & called him by the name I had used in middle school, but it was a diminutive he rejected.  That was literally the last time I ever saw him.

His next-door neighbor & I were never friends, but I suppose we were friendly.  We knew each other mainly in elementary school.  Years later, when I was hosting a training session for KOOP, I recognized the name of a trainee & realized it was his older brother, who had been two years ahead of us in school.  I don't know if he actually knew me, but I guess he knew my name, because he seemed to recognize me, & he became a great volunteer & a good programmer & I daresay we became friends.

At some party, the older brother brought the younger, who had had a rough time of it in life.  I didn't recognize him at all.  We didn't have much to talk about.  & that was probably the last time I'll ever see him.

This came up because I was talking the other day to someone with the same first name - who spelled it the same way.  I suspected he had wanted to reject the childish diminutive in the same manner.  Then I realized the picture I was painting:

My childhood classmate's name was Robbie Spangle.  His neighbor was Bryan Boyden.  They lived on Glenbrook Drive.  Next to Duck Creek.  Where in a fictional land they solved mysteries & got into wholesome boyish shenanigans.

Too bad there are so few Garys in children's books.  & almost certainly no Gary Dickersons.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Photographs Of Places I've Lived # 1: Kingsley Manor

(Image from Google Maps.)

There's not much information online about the apartment complex called "Kingsley Manor."  Like many apartment buildings in & around the Dallas metroplex where I grew up, it has changed its name quite a bit.  The most recent name is "Kingsley Crossing."  It appears to be quite a dump (check out the online reviews) but that's not to say it wasn't like that when I lived there.

My parents divorced when I was around four years old (which would have been 1972) & my mother had very few choices where to go.  She had seven children - I suspect four or five of them were still at home - & the other two doubtless helped her pay for the apartment.

In my memory's correct - & it isn't - we lived in one of the apartments on the bottom level on the left up there.  I remember looking out of the window into Kingsley Avenue, a moderately busy street.  The front doors opened into a courtyard on the other side.  It wasn't a large place - I don't know how six of us lived there, & I'm not sure whom in my family I can ask to find out the details - but I suspect I lived there until part of my first grade year, or maybe before first grade.

This is the first place I remember living in.  There were other homes - houses my family rented, which my father's drinking caused us to lose - & I've never figured out exactly how many places that was before we moved into Kingsley Manor.  Too bad there aren't any pictures of that place online.  Besides the large white columns, I don't recognize much of those apartments - & I spent a summer delivering the paper to them, & my mother worked at a convenience right next to them until 1987.  So they existed in my world for much longer than I lived in them.

My thought it we lived there somewhat briefly - perhaps 1972 to 1973 or 1974.  Then we moved to an apartment complex down the street.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Self Help Radio 082420: A Giant Show

(Original image here.)

To be honest, when I first thought about doing a "giant" show, I didn't know if I knew any giants.  Then I did the show, & then I got a call from Claude.  Claude's a guy I know who's an actual giant.

"Why didn't you have me on the show?" he asked.
"I guess I forgot your were a giant," I said.
"I'll six foot nine!" he said.
"But you're always sitting down!" I said in my defense.

The moral of the story is, you never know if you have giants in your life, especially if they're usually sitting down.  Ask your friends & acquaintances to stand up every once in a while, it may surprise you - you might be surrounded by giants!

Then maybe play them this week's Self Help Radio, a show about giants & giant things.  You can listen now (whether you're sitting down or not) at the Self Help Radio web page  Remember, username=SHR, password=selfhelp.  The show is exactly two hours long - how did that happen?  You can see what transpired (musically & verbally) below.

A Giant Self Help Radio Show
"Giants" Quintessence _Cries From The Midnight Circus (Ladbroke Grove 1967-78)_
"Giants" Slapp Happy _Desperate Straights_
"Sleeping Giants" The Chills _Soft Bomb_

introduction & definitions

"Giant" Throwing Muses _House Tornado_
"Giant" Muy Cansado _Let It Go_
"Giant Corporation" Maria Bamford _How To Win!_
"Giants' Graves" The Witch & The Robot _On Safari_
"Battle Of The Giants" The Pioneers _Battle Of The Giants_

interview with Dr. Lawrence Schmecken

"Giant Sized Baby Thing" Bow Wow Wow _Your Box Set Pet (The Complete Recordings 1980-1984)_
"Taking Windmills For Giants" The Boy Least Likely To _The Great Perhaps_
"Need Some Giants" The New Pornographers _In The Morse Code Of Brake Lights_
"Kicking: Giant" Some Velvet Sidewalk _Whirlpool_
"Giants" The Stranglers _Giants_

interview with my youngest friends Alyssa & Jason

"The Land Of The Giants" The Cravats _The Land Of The Giants_
"Take A Giant Step" Rising Sons _Rising Sons Featuring Taj Mahal & Ry Cooder_
"The Giants Garden" Audio Active _We Are Audio Active (Tokyo Space Cowboys)_
"When Giants Fall" Love Is All _A Hundred Things Keep Me Up At Night_
"Giant Ear" Fishboy _Zipbangboom_

interview with the Cincinnati Giant's best friend Thad Baxter

"Giant" Desario _Little Darla Has A Treat For You V.27: Eternal Spring Edition_
"Giant" The Honest Johns _Meteor 1986 - 1990_
"Giant Hans" Erase Errata _Nightlife_
"Giant Hands" You Say Party! We Say Die! _Lose All Time_
"The Giant" Johnny Burnette _The Complete Recordings 1955-1964_

conclusion & goodbye

"Jolly Green Giant" _Negativland _Happy Heroes_
"A Giant's Dream" Herman Dune _Sweet Thursday_

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Whither A Giant Show?

(Image from here.)

Tomorrow - assuming you're reading this Sunday - or today - assuming you're reading this early Monday - or back on Monday the 24th - assuming you're reading this any other day - although if you're reading this every other day, you'll need to change all the verb tenses from present to past because the events about which this blog post is talking are happening really quite soon - tomorrow Self Help Radio is hosting "a giant show."  What does that mean?

Quite simply, it means a show about giants & giant things.  Quite complicatedly, it means that the original intention was songs about giants but at some point in the collection of songs about giants the songs about giant things had also amassed & some of them were really good & it was like, "Why exclude these things because they're giant too just not giants."  Quite Germanly, ich kann wirklich kein Deutsch. Ich habe einen Online-Übersetzer verwendet, um dies zu schreiben. Meine deutschen Vorfahren würden sich zutiefst schämen. Naja. Darf ich auch hinzufügen, daß ich drei schöne Hunde habe?

In any event, the event of tomorrow is Self Help Radio's "giant show."  It will happen at all altitudes where one can listen from 8-10am on 90.3+98.3fm Freeform Portland & online at

Listen!  It will make you feel like a giant!