Saturday, October 31, 2020

Cancelled Halloween

Walking around the neighborhood tonight, I felt bad that I had assumed that Halloween would be cancelled this year because it almost certainly wasn't.  These are the things I observed on our late afternoon dogwalk:

1) People who prepared safe ways for kids to get treats, whether as simple as a bowl (with instructions to save some for others!) or as complex as a barrier, usually a table, with little goody bags for each trick-or-treater.

2) People who were having parties in their front or backyards, probably for neighbor kids, although I am always alarmed by the lack of masks.

3) People who prepared something out in front of their house, somewhat like a block party, but probably a kind of mixing of ways 1 & 2.

Perhaps I was too busy this week, or perhaps too lazy, but at some point either I or the wife decided we wouldn't take part in Halloween.  We would pull our window shades down & not turn the porch light on.

What we did do was go out for food - pizza & donuts - & what shocked me was the number of people - adults with children - in costume in the neighborhood.  Didn't they know Halloween was cancelled?!?

Or rather, didn't I know you just can't cancel Halloween?

So right now I am full of pizza & a giant donut feeling guilty about not even trying.  When we first moved into the house I talked about doing something spooky for Halloween.  I wouldn't have presumed to do such a thing this year.  & I don't think I would have anyway - but jeez, I could've had a bowl in front of the house or something.


Friday, October 30, 2020

Photographs Of Places I've Lived # 8: The Dolphin Apartments

(image, as usual, from Google Maps)

In case you haven't been reading this blog - & why would you? - I've been taking some time each week looking through the internets to see if places I used to live are still standing, & sharing a picture of them, along with a story or two about my time there.  It's mostly a melancholy thing, & certainly it helps keep me from thinking about the current situation in my country, which is fucking awful.

In the fall of 1988 I shared an apartment with two people I thought of as friends.  In general, they didn't hold me in such high regard.  One thing that is true about me is that I am quite generous to people I consider friends.  For these two friends, who could not have afforded living in a three-bedroom apartment, I chose to rent a two-bedroom & give the two of them the bedrooms, while I lived in the (ahem) living room, with sheets acting as walls.  I didn't think twice about this arrangement, & neither did they, as far as I know.  When I think back on that time, I have no idea what their rooms looked like.  I don't think they ever invited me in.

That semester - the beginning of my third year of college - I fell in love.  So I spent a great deal of time with the woman, who didn't really love me & never would, but who for some reason kept me around - more on that in later installments - & also I had school.  One day I came home to the two roommates announcing to me that they were moving out.  I myself couldn't afford to live in a two-bedroom apartment on my own, & I explained to them that we had a lease, & there were penalties to breaking it.  They told me that was my problem - my name, you see, was on the lease.  That I didn't tell them to fuck all the way off & never spoke to them again says something about my demented sense of loyalty & the general manner in which I managed to never feel used as people used me time & again.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the apartment manager liked me - I had lived in the complex for two years, I never paid rent late, I was amiable - so she let me break the lease.  I was then faced with the daunting task of finding a place to live.  It turns out I am terrible at finding a place to live.  The apartment complex in which I was living I had been living in since I moved to Austin, & it was simple to move from place-to-place inside a complex.  They didn't have any apartments I could afford so I had to look elsewhere.

It turns out I was lucky that the woman I was courting let me use her car & I found a place on the other side of town.  These were the Dolphin Apartments, which I am not surprised to say are still called the Dolphin Apartments.  I like to tell people who live in Austin that I got an efficiency there in the fall of 1988 for 165$ a month.  I can't find information online but I suspect it costs more than a grand a month for the same place in 2020.

It was a tiny place, what they call a studio (the internet says 400 square feet), which was basically a room with a small kitchen in the front & a bathroom in the back.  I don't know if I thought I was living in a worse place than before, or if I was bothered by living alone, or even if I thought the place was filthy or whatever - it was on a bus route to campus & I was preoccupied by both the woman & school & really only thought of the place as somewhere to keep my stuff.  But over time, I became quite lonely there.

In the summer of 1989, I worked at a 7-11 at 15th & San Jacinto in Austin.  I worked the 11-7 shift, & had a ritual of taking a bus to campus & walking the short distance to the store.  In the morning, I'd do the opposite, although sometimes I'd take the bus from near the store to campus, since buses in Austin at the time ran early but didn't run late.  The days during that summer in that apartment - I was without the woman with whom I had at that time started a relationship, although who knows why she wanted to be in a relationship with me since she didn't love me & never would - she was home for the summer - were very long.  I would get home at nine, ten a.m., & I suppose have dinner.  Listen to music, maybe watch something I had videotaped.  I would sleep from noon to eight, the time when people lived their lives, & then get ready for work.  Nowadays I keep odd hours thanks to late-night radio shows, but I wasn't so used to it back then - & it would get worse when school started but I needed to keep the job because of unexpected bills.  That's a whole other story.

The manager was a "hip dude" who liked to come talk to me.  I found him uncomfortable, a little too old to pretend to be able to relate to me, & certainly inappropriate with women like my "girlfriend."  I believe he had a lava lamp in his apartment.  I have memories of needing to talk to him about something & standing uncomfortably outside his door while he talked to shirtless in his doorway.

Toward the end, I spent most of my time at my "girlfriend"'s place & so my little studio at Dolphin Apartments really did become a place to keep my stuff.  Although it turns out I did need a place to keep my stuff.  As I will explain in future installments.

Dang, I wish I could remember my address, my apartment number.  I have very few pictures from that time period.  But I believe I lived there from 1988 till probably early 1990.  It wasn't very long.  But I'm not sure I can be entirely exact.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Self Help Radio 102720: Halloween 2020 - Attack Of The Self Help Radio!

(See below for links to original images)

Last night/this morning on KBOO you could have heard two things that were the same thing, really.  One, my first regular episode of Self Help Radio; & two, the seventeenth Halloween show I've done on a specific theme.  The theme was "Attack Of The Self Help Radio" & you can look at the playlist below to see how many devious, evil, nefarious, irradiated, horrible creatures attacked during the show's three hour length.  It was a b-movie Halloween episode to be sure.

You can listen to the show in two places.  It is archived "as it happened" on the KBOO website.  This is a recording that starts around midnight & ends around 3am, & includes at the beginning spots for the station.  But if you'd like to listen to just the show from beginning (when the intro comes on) to end, you can do so at the Self Help Radio website.  It's the same show, of course.  The latter edits out the official KBOO stuff (sorry.)

If you listen at the Self Help Radio website, you'll need a username & a password.  Those are SHR & selfhelp.  The show was three hours long & there was a lot of music & talk.  I do my best to tell you what happened below.

Happy Halloween!

Halloween 2020: Attack Of The Self Help Radio!
"Attack Of The Creature" Skullduggery _Deficient In Vital Magnetism_
"Attack Of The Mole Men" The Dickies _Dawn Of The Dickies_
"The Attack Of The Giant Ants" Blondie _Blondie_

introduction + the Donation-O-Tron 2020 visits

"Attack Of The Fifty Foot Woman" The Tubes _The Completion Backward Principle_
"Attack Of The Radioactive Hamsters From A Planet Near Mars" Weird Al Yankovic _UHF Original Motion Picture Soundtrack & Other Stuff_
"UFO Attack (Live)" Asylum Street Spankers _Strawberry_
"Attack Of The Blue Meanies" The Dupont Circles _Will There Be Time For Tea?_
"Attack Of The Space Lolitas" The Lovejoys _A Taste Of Bongo_

our resident Cinephile presents Chuck's Happily Unsophisticated Cinema Korner

"Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes" Lewis Lee _Elvira Presents Haunted Hits_
"Attack Of The Giant Leeches" Half Japanese _Hear The Lions Roar_
"Attack Of The Mushroom People" Angry Samoans _STP Not LSD_
"Attacked By Monsters" Meat Puppets _Monsters_
"Attack Of The Giant Sloth" Chelsea P. Manders _Don't Tell My Dad_

interview with the Rev Dr Howard Gently

"Attack Of The Giant Jellyfish" Del Mar _After The Quake_
"Attack Of The Giant Lobster Man" Shock Therapy _Attack Of The Giant Lobster Man_
"Shark Attack" Surf Punks _Locals Only_
"Shark Attack" Tig Notaro _Good One_
"Shark Attack" The Goddamn Gentlemen _Sex-Caliber Horsepower_

interview with horror film auteur Pierre Peterson

"Flying Saucer Attack" The Rezillos _Can't Stand The Rezillos: The (Almost) Complete Rezillos_
"Asteroid Attack" Luna Vegas _Second Shot, Cuckoo Clock_
"Mars Attacks" Misfits _American Psycho_
"Mars Attacks" The Courtneys _II_
"Mars Attacks" Aesop Rock _Bazooka Tooth_

interview with "scream queen" Jean Margot

"Attack Of The Ghost Riders" The Raveonettes _Whip It On_
"Rat Attack" Deerhoof _Halfbird_
"Snake Attack" Anonymous _Corporate Food/Snake Attack 7"_
"Attacked By Snakes" The Aquabats _The Fury Of The Aquabats!_
"Attack Of The Super Vixens" The Creatures _Godzilla!_

a discussion of how many "Attack Of The" movies there are

"Attack Of The Giant Tapeworms" Doug Newman _Attack Of The Giant Tapeworms_
"Attack Of The Tarman" Dead Pleasures _Chorus Of Corpses_
"Attack Of The Zorch Men" The Meteors _In Heaven_
"Attack Of The Munchies" Tall Dwarfs _Sickie_
"Attack Of The Hair People" Jupiter Affect _The Restoration Of Culture After Genghis Khan_

conclusion & goodbye

"Attack Of The Alien Minds" Nikki St. George _The Tomorrow People (Original Television Music)_
"Attack Of Robot Atomico" The Ghastly Ones _A-Haunting We Will Go-Go_
"Attack Of The Killer Bees" Archers Of Loaf _All The Nations Airports_
"Attack El Robot! Attack!" Calexico _Feast Of Wire_
"Attack Of The Giant Killer Robot Spiders!" Pinch _Attack Of The Giant Killer Robot Spiders!_
"Attack Of The 60ft Lesbian Octopus" Does It Offend You, Yeah? _You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into_

The original images for the fake movie poster above came from these links:

Monday, October 26, 2020

Whither Halloween 2020 (Attack Of The Self Help Radio!)?

(Image from here.)

Oh boy!  Tonight there are two cool things happening!  One, it's Self Help Radio's debut on KBOO!  Two, it's our annual Halloween show, with the theme Attack Of The Self Help Radio!  As you might imagine, the show will feature songs & interviews all somehow involving something attacking - whether it's giant ants, or zombies, or flying saucers, or mutants, or giant leeches, or giant crabs, or giant jellyfish, or radioactive things, or things from another planet or galaxy, or monsters in general, or a monster in particular, or - well, you get the idea.  Don't you?

The show is on from midnight to 3am on 90.7 fm KBOO in Portland which is online everywhere at  I'm pretty excited about it - I hope you will be too.  & don't worry, if you aren't awake, we'll attempt to broadcast into your dreams - & you can find us later on the Self Help Radio website.

Tonight!  At midnight!  This Halloween show is on the attack!

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Preface To Halloween 2020: Isn't Life Enough Of A Horror?

There are many places on this blog where I recount all my Halloween themes & bemoan the fact that eventually I'll run out of them.  I've done Halloween shows about ghosts, vampires, monsters, zombies, witches, werewolves, haunted houses, graveyards, nightmares, hell, mummies, clowns, death, black cats, voodoo, & Frankenstein*.  It's only a matter of time until I start repeating myself.  But not this year!

But do we really need a Halloween this year?  Hasn't everything been horrible enough?  Halloween is on a Saturday night this year.  I remember when we were kids & Halloween happened on the weekend - I think it was on a Friday in 1981 & a Saturday in 1982 - but by then I had pretty much aged out of trick or treating.  Although I probably went, because, you know, candy.

Are there any guidelines for Halloween this year?  I don't think I want to hand out candy.  Should I be getting candy to hand out?  Have I even seen the candy displays at Costco or other stores?

In this sense I'm grateful this year's show is about horror movies.  Horror movies are forever.  There are probably horror movies about the coronavirus in production as we speak.  Hooray for horror films!

Boo for 2020!  I suspect it'll only get worse from here, however.  The year 2020 has replaced all my hope with nausea & dread.  As the disgraced Louis CK once said, "An optimist is someone who goes, 'Hey, maybe something nice will happen!' Why the fuck would anything nice ever happen?"

Boy did he demonstrate that in his own life!

* You can find most of them & even listen to them on the Self Help Radio Halloween page!