Saturday, November 14, 2020

Recently Seen In The Storm

Fist-fight in the downpour.  Mostly feints, rain gets in the eyes.

Who challenged whom? Was it the sort of thing that happened because of a sleight, or was it something that had been building for a while, finally erupting into dumb violence?

We are the passers-by, pretending not to notice, we have no context.

Surprised, really, by the lack of words.  Have words failed?  No yelling, no posturing, just two somewhat young men with fists up, determined, as rain falls.

You lean closer to say something, but I can't take my eyes away.  They were in the street but now they're on the grass, the mud is making them clumsy, they're more likely to slip & fall than fell one another with punches.

Do they notice we've slowed to watch?  Is this why they stop?  Or has sense prevailed?

One walks away.  Spits on the ground as he does.  Mutters something I think is "Fuck you."

The other turns, he seems more embarrassed than relieved.  He doesn't appear to know where he is.  He just starts walking, turns around, walks in a diagonal across the street.

One of our dogs barks at him.  He doesn't seem to notice.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Photographs Of Places I've Lived # 10: This Corner House

(image from Google maps)

This is a cheat, but there's a (hopefully) good story here.  I actually never lived in this house, although I technically paid to live here, or at least to keep my stuff here.  After the woman I called my girlfriend moved out of the apartments I discussed a week ago, we decided that it was best, since her parents had forbidden her to date me, & since they visited her regularly, that she live by herself & I find a place too.  I answered a "roommate wanted" ad in the Student Union & met a nice woman who lived her, I think with her boyfriend, but maybe just her.  It was one half of a duplex & the room was lovely, facing the east so it was sunny in the mornings.  It was the room on the corner, there.  I remember it mainly as a place where all my stuff sat in boxes.  For months.

Because I never really moved in.  My "girlfriend" found another place & I was there all the time.  I am not sure when this happened - my brain thinks it was late 1990 but it might have been early 1991 - but I do think the woman who lived in the duplex probably thought it was a pretty good deal, since I was never there but I was paying for the room.  The perfect roommate!  I wish I could remember her name.  She was quite nice, & someone with whom in different circumstances I might have become friends.

This is the story that I remember from that place in which I never lived.  I came by to get something - probably an album, since all my records were in that room I never slept in - & the woman & her boyfriend were there, & a little miserable.  It seems that they had gone to Astroworld the previous weekend.  I had never been but I loved roller coasters so I wanted to know how it went.  She told me that there was some set-up they had where you could have your picture taken as you were going up or going down at some point during a particular roller coaster ride.  The camera was obvious.  They knew where it was.  Well.  The woman decided when the time came for the picture, to flash it.  She lifted her shirt when the picture was snapped.  She & her boyfriend thought that was hilarious.

The authorities at Astroworld did not.  The pair were not only taken aside & escorted from the park for this indiscretion, the management company called the law.  She was arrested for indecent exposure & would have to appear in court.  At the time I visited, the two were fretting about possible fines - which they couldn't afford - not to mention a lawyer - which they really couldn't afford.  I remember needing to take off but standing in the doorway listening & wishing there were something I could do.

The situation wasn't resolved after I finally bit the bullet & moved out, realizing I'd never stay there.  But I did run into her on campus probably a year later & she was able to pay a small fine & do community service.  I did cheekily ask her if she'd do it again & she looked horrified.  She said she never wanted to go through anything like that ever again.

Two by the ways: in about four years I would move into a small four-plex across the street from this house & since I've been naming these by the streets I lived on, I figured I didn't want to have to say the street name twice.  Also, I didn't really live here!  I just paid to live here.

& also - look how pretty that is!  That picture was taken in June 2019.  I think I forgot how green Austin could get!

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Self Help Radio 111020: Floods

(Who says it doesn't flood in Portland?  Original image here.)

As someone who's still pretty anxious about the state of my country at the moment, I do want to acknowledge that it doesn't feel currently as much like a natural disaster as it could have been.  Recently I spoke with someone who talked a great deal about magic & rituals & perhaps she would consider this show as a kind of ward I constructed to stave off such an eventuality.  Nonetheless, playing on the radio for three hours, even with some harrowing stories about floods in history & songs about those floods, it kept me from being as fretful as I've been & for that I am grateful.

Three hours of radio still feels like a bit too long, but hopefully the show is fitting well into its new time slot.  There certainly were a lot of songs about floods to sort through!

You can listen to the show now & anytime at the Self Help Radio website.  You'll need a username - which is SHR - & a password - which is selfhelp - to listen.  (If you'd prefer to hear the real-time recording of the show - I edited this stuff out - you can listen to it on the KBOO website - it includes material from the previous show & also some station spots.)  The show is three long hours long long.  What happens on the show is below.

Stay dry!

Self Help Radio Floods Show
"The Flood Blues" Sippie Wallace _Louis Armstrong & The Blues Singers_
"Alabama Flood" Andrew Jenkins _People Take Warning! (Murder Ballads & Disaster Songs, 1913-1938)_
"Noah & The Flood" Norman Haskins _Virginia & The Piedmont (Minstrelsy, Work Songs, & Blues)_

introduction & definitions

"Flood Water Blues No. 2 (Take 1)" Casey Bill Weldon _Complete Recorded Works 1935-1938 In Chronological Order: Volume 1_
"The 1936 Floods" Red Foley _Old Shep (The Red Foley Recordings 1933-1950)_
"Flood Water Blues" Lonnie Johnson _Complete 1937 To June 1947 Recordings In Chronological Order, Volume 1_
"Flood" Muddy Waters _Muddy Waters (The Chess Box)_
"Texas Flood" Larry Davis _I Pity The Fool (The Duke Records Story)_

interview with News 44 meteorologist Angela Sinclair

"Flood Of Love" Roy Hall _Roy Rocks_
"Galveston Flood" Tom Rush _Take A Little Walk With Me_
"Crash On The Levee (Down In The Flood)" Bob Dylan & The Band _The Basement Tapes_
"Floods Of Florence" Phil Ochs _Tape From California_
"The Flood" Ginger Ale _The Story Of The Sixties_

Ned Dry interrupts!

"Lost In The Flood" Bruce Springsteen _Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J._
"Flashflood" Romeo Void _Benefactor_
"Genesis 6" Christopher Glyn _The Historical Books Of The Bible: Genesis_
"Flood Victim" Jah Lloyd _Reggae Stick_
"The Flood" Blue Orchids _A Darker Bloom: The Blue Orchids Collection_

interview with flood insurance salesperson Doug Jones

"After The Flood" Lone Justice _Lone Justice_
"Flood" Throwing Muses _University_
"Mr Flood's Party" Paul Taver _Poetry Reading_
"Waiting For The Flood" Love & Rockets _Earth Sun Moon_
"Here Comes The Flood" The Divine Comedy _Fin De Siècle_

Marge Most reports

"Living In The Flood" Horace Andy _Living In The Flood_
"The Flood" The Mekons _Journey To The End Of The Night_
"Flood" The Gentle Waves _Swansong For You_
"In A Flood" John Cale _Black Acetate_
"A Flood" Fanfarlo _Rooms Filled With Light_

a Self Help Radio list: the five worst floods in the US

"Flooded" Von Südenfed _Tromatic Reflexxions_
"The Great Boston Molasses Flood" The Dead Milkmen _Pretty Music For Pretty People_
"The Flood" Pinto _Hook Me Up_
"King Tide & The Sunny Day Flood" Billy Bragg _Bridges Not Walls_
"Fox Confessor Brings The Flood" Neko Case _Fox Confessor Brings The Flood_

conclusion & goodbye

"Flood I" The Sisters Of Mercy _Floodland_
"The Flood" Facts On File _Bring It Back_
"After The Flood" Woolen Men _Temporary Monument_
"Flood Of Light" Modern English _Take Me To The Trees_

Monday, November 09, 2020

Whither Floods?

(A picture I took in Lexington when the creek in front of our house flooded, 2014.)

Here's a dumb personal anecdote: a few days before we signed the paperwork for our house in Lexington, FEMA reclassified parts of our neighborhood as being in a "flood plain" - including about two or three feet of our garage.  Which meant we suddenly had to purchase flood insurance.  This irked my wife the entire time we lived there - it probably bothers her to this day.  It seems to have been a corrupt move - the flood plain was moved northward so a private clinic could be built over the previous flood plain without paying more for the land or insuring it.  No one seemed to be bothered enough to fight it, however.

We're a bit more worried about fires than flood here in Oregon.  But when I looked at the calendar a few weeks ago, I believed that Tuesday the 3rd of November 2020 would be one of the worst days in history.  I was convinced - & I say this as this is currently happening, although at the moment unsuccessfully - the current administration would find a way to steal this election.  It seemed an event on par with a natural disaster.  & of the natural disasters I could conceive of, the flood came most quickly to mind.  This is how Self Help Radio attempts to stay relevant.

The show is on tonight/Tuesday morning from midnight to 3am on 90.7 fm KBOO, online at  We're not entirely sure that a terrible disaster has been averted, but please don't think of the show as a kind of summoning; instead, we hope to avert any kind of flood.  Except a flood of listeners!

Sunday, November 08, 2020

Preface To Floods: Expecting Apocalypse

Were you expecting apocalypse?  Yes, I was expecting apocalypse.

What sort of apocalypse were you expecting?  More of the same.  Only worse.

Not all apocalypses are equal.  Nor do we always experience the same apocalypse.

"All apocalypses are local."  Not quite.

But this apocalypse didn't happen.  It still may.

Yes?  Oh yes.

Then what will we do?  We'll experience the apocalypse.

Will we survive the apocalypse.  Who's to say?

We have survived other apocalypses.  Have we, though?

But this apocalypse hasn't happened.  No.  Not yet.

Wow this is dark.  Try living in my head, buddy.

No thanks.