Saturday, October 17, 2020

Preface To Swoon: A Short History Of Fainting

This is true: I am a fainter.  I faint.  I am not sure why I faint but I do.

The first time I remember fainting was in sixth grade health class.  We were talking about intravenous drugs.  I passed out.  I had been focusing on putting a needle in my arm & my brain short-circuited.  This happened again in eighth grade.  I apparently collapsed in health class again & caused a stir.  I was taken to the school nurse.

You probably haven't read much Dostoyevsky but one of the things he talks about, since he was epileptic, is the profound peace one feels in an epileptic fit.  I am not epileptic so I can't speak to that, but as someone who had fainted many times, I can tell you that in the strange state of unconsciousness within the faint, it's extraordinarily peaceful.  It's like a dream of calm.  When consciousness comes to bring you back, you go in protest.  Waking up from a faint is a violent thing.

In my first or second semester of college, I fainted in a large psychology class.  The professor was talking about the brain, & - these were pre-computer days - he had a transparency on the overhead projector which simulated the layers of the brain.  As he went deeper, lifting each transparency to reveal things underneath, I felt that my brain was being peeled open, & I fainted.  I woke to a frat boy type slapping my face saying in a whisper - because the professor was lecturing - "Dude, wake up.  Are you okay, dude?"

Your eyes stay open when you faint.  Did you know that?

Cataloging my faints would be tedious.  I fainted just last year because of a drug situation that I won't go into.  I will say that once I learned my particular symptoms of a possible faint, I learned how to waylay it - usually by putting my head between my legs so my brain didn't lose blood or oxygen.

If I could change anything about myself, well, that's a long list, but one of those things would be that I would be able to turn myself off like a machine.  I had a friend who told me of a boy she was dating who would say, "I'm going to sleep now," & then fall asleep.  I was envious of him.  Imagine being able to initiate sleep mode so readily!

Swooning is not, however, merely fainting.  I can't say if I've ever actually swooned.  Let me think about that.  I've fainted, oh how I've fainted.  But swooned?  Hm.  I don't know.

Friday, October 16, 2020

What To Do With News Of News

So... there's some news about Self Help Radio that I'd like to share.  & in a sense, I've already shared.  Y'see, I have to record Self Help Radio to air Monday mornings & it has to be turned in early so someone can "screen" it (or "clear" it) in case I go on some kind of potty mouth rant.  Which, to be fair, is always likely no matter how long I've done radio.

& on the show, which I finished today, I shared the news, so it feels like I've already told you.  But of course you won't hear it until Monday morning - during the last airbreak! - & you probably won't listen to the show at all.  So you won't ever hear the news unless I tell you here.

But something tells me to wait.  Something also tells me to eat whatever's in the refrigerator right now.  I can ignore the latter voice, so I could ignore the former.  But the voice telling me to wait is very different from the voice telling me to be a colossal pig, & in fact I wish the voice telling me to wait to share the news would also tell me to just eat when I'm hungry.  So I'm inclined the trust the more prudent of voices.

Do you mind waiting?  We can talk Monday.  As usual, I'm making a bigger deal about this than it really is.  But I can't wait to tell you!  I'm excited.  But I have to wait.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Photographs Of Places I've Lived # 7: Town Lake Circle

(Image from Google Maps.)

This place no longer exists.  This is taken from Google images from 2007.  As of January of 2020, it looked like this:


What happened to the apartments?  They were gone by 2008, as far as I can tell, & nothing has been put in their place.

For the life of me I can't recall what they were called - maybe Town Lake Apartments?  The street I looked out onto was Elmont, but officially the address was Town Lake Circle.  I moved in with school friends Paul & Todd in 1986, lived there till the summer of 1987, when I returned to Garland.  I lived in a smaller apartment toward the back with another school friend William in my sophomore year of college, roughly August 1987 to May 1988, & lived again with William & yet another friend, Joe, in a two-bedroom apartment (I lived in the living room) from around August of 1988 till December of 1988, when William & Joe decided to move out, leaving me with a place I couldn't afford.  Luckily, I had been a good tenant, & the landlord let me break the lease.

These apartments were in an area that used to be called "the Riverside student ghetto."  They were far from campus, maybe six miles away.  I used to take a bus to classes - which went onto I-35 past the lake through downtown - & it took around ten to fifteen minutes to get to UT; nowadays I'm sure it takes twice as long, or worse if the traffic is bad.

Down the street was a venue called "The Back Room."  It was apparently mostly a space for metal shows, but I have fond memories of seeing Love & Rockets, the Jesus & Mary Chain, the Sugarcubes, James, & gosh probably other shows there.  Here's an article about the place.  It's apparently now where Emo's, once a downtown club (where I also saw too many shows to count), now exists.

There was also a supermarket within walking distance, & I remember my roommate Paul & I had a brief fling with tennis while we lived there - there was a tennis court down the road.  Alas, Paul got better & better at the game, while I plateaued at "somewhat mediocre," & Paul was very competitive.  & as people who suck at sports know, it's never much fun to play with people who are better than you are if they love to win.  You end up just asking to be humiliated.

One amusing story is that I had a longstanding obsession with a girl who lived in the apartments who had purple hair.  I would refer to her to friends as "the purple-haired girl," inviting comparisons with Charlie Brown & his "little red haired girl."  She lived with a boyfriend, & I would never have had the courage to speak to her, so I would sit on the bus, listening to the Birthday Party on my Walkman, & daydream about getting to know her.  Years later, as fate would have it, we became somewhat acquainted, &, alas, she wasn't a very interesting person.  Her name was Leanne.  I think after we hung out once or twice we realized we didn't really have much in common.

At some point I'll get to the years 1986 through 1988 in my birthday series so I'll have more to say about this place.  Once I moved away from this part of the world, I never really went back - my home range, such as it was, shifted to the Hyde Park area of Austin after this.  But in 2017, my wife & I visited Austin for what would be the very last time & there was a food truck that we went to there, & the whole area seemed utterly strange to me.  I guess I noticed the apartments were gone.  We did walk the dogs down by Town Lake & I kinda wished that I had had a dog when I lived there - I really wish I had spent more time down by the lake.

Today I was talking to a friend who had lived in Austin in the 90s & we chatted about different areas of the city.  I lived there for more than twenty years & really didn't see a whole lot of the city.  It's a shame, really - it was a big place, expansive, & the time to get to know it was then, when it was still a somewhat sleepy little town.  Now it may be entirely unknowable.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Self Help Radio 101220: Traps

(Original image here.)

You see, I was caught in a trap.  I couldn't walk out.  Because I was doing a radio show, baby.  & here it is!

You're thinking, I never thought of radio as a trap!  You are correct to do so.  Whom would radio want to trap?  Radio is the opposite of a trap - it sets you free.  It sets music free.  It sets voices free.

Does this make a radio show about traps ironic?  Hardly.  Because radio often finds itself sending messages that are contradictory, ironic, moronic, etc.  That's often inadvertent - for example, this radio show can often be so incredibly dumb but also astonishingly un-self-aware.  Why would it broadcast dumb things?  Alas, not knowingly!

Am I done asking questions & answering them as if something actually cares about this nonsense?  I am!

You can listen to this week's Self Help Radio which is presented exactly as it aired Monday morning on Freeform Portland by visiting the Self Help Radio web site.  Please remember: username SHR, password selfhelp.  The show was just me & songs, so all you need to know is the songs that were played, & they are listed below.

Don't worry!  The show is entirely trap & release this week!

Self Help Radio Traps Show
"Trap" The Pop Group _We Are Time_
"Trap" Robert Fripp & The League Of Gentlemen _God Save The King_
"Trap" The Cure _Wild Mood Swings_

introduction & definitions

"Suspicious Minds" Mark James _You Heard It Here First!_
"Trapped In Amber" The Clean _Anthology_
"Siamese Trap" Opal _Happy Nightmare, Baby_
"Set A Little Trap" Phyllis Hyman _Forever With You_
"Keep Your Fly-Trap Closed" Jimmy McLain _Swingin' The Blues: 1931-1939_

another airbreak

"The Trapper & The Furrier" Regina Spektor _Remember Us To Life_
"Trapped By A Thing Called Love" Denise LaSalle _Trapped By A Thing Called Love_
"I Trap You" Kae Tempest _The Book Of Traps & Lessons_
"Trapped Love" The Cramps _Flamejob_
"Black Light Trap" Shriekback _Big Night Music_

yet another airbreak

"Trap Door" Stars _No One Is Lost_
"Bear In A Trap" Her Royal Harness _The Hunting Room_
"Party Trap" Tacocat _NVM_
"Mantrap" Thee Headcoats _Heavens To Murgatroyd, Even! It's Thee Headcoats! (Already)_
"Traps" New Musik _Anywhere_

really? another airbreak?

"Trapped" Chastity Belt _Time To Go Home_
"Trapped In A Love Affair" Brenda Holloway _A Cellarful Of Motown!_
"Trapped" Kenneth Williams & Roderick Cook _Share My Lettuce (A Nixa Original Cast Recording)_
"Trapped In Paradise" Bill Baird _Diamond Eyepatch_
"Trapped" Underworld & Iggy Pop _Teatime Dub Encounters_

conclusion & goodbye

"Love Is The Tender Trap" Frank Sinatra _The Capitol Years_
"The World Was A Trap" The Crooner _Sounds From The Valley Of Love_
"I'm Like A Ship Trapped Inside A Bottle" The Cavalcade _Many Moons_
"Still We Fall (Into The Same Trap)" Eggplant _Anorak Twat_

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Whither Traps?

Look.  I know you feel trapped.  Everyone does.  Trapped inside because of the pandemic.  Trapped by the fucked-up institutions that are letting a minority control our country & topple it into fascism.  Trapped by the love you feel for family, close friends, lovers, pets.  Everything's a trap.  There's no way to get entirely free.  At some point (to really strain the metaphor) you're going to even gnaw some part of yourself off just to try to get away.

Don't do that!  Why not just kinda accept it & listen to a radio show about traps?  It's easier to deal with being triggered if you pull the trigger yourself.  Hey, look at me, acting all self-helpy & shit.  I have no experience or training in counseling as you well know but I have been doing a show called "Self Help Radio" for eighteen years now.  I think that should count for something!

Enjoy the bait that got you into the trap in the first place.  & listen to Self Help Radio's show about traps, which will air tomorrow (Monday) morning from 8-10am on Freeform Portland.  You can listen in town at 90.3 & 98.3 fm & everywhere at  Maybe knowing it's a trap will make you feel a bit smarter when you fall for it?