Saturday, February 06, 2021

The Street On Which There Are Three Empty Houses

There's a street near where I live, & on that street there are three houses that sit empty.  One of them I call haunted.  One is doomed, the other is just lonely.  I regularly take pictures of the haunted house.  I want to make a movie of its decline.  The doomed house was still alive when we first walked past it, there were hoarders & perhaps drug users living in it, & around it - cars & campers with people living in them were parked on the street - the doomed house is on a corner.  Come to think of it, the haunted house is on a corner, too, but the street it's on is a busy one, & no one lives in it so no one lives around it.  The lonely house is just lonely.

There's a slightly sadistic part of me that's waiting for the doomed house to come down.  A couple of weeks ago, its outer shell was removed, there are just exposed boards there now, with flat plywood over the windows.  The same people that stripped the house surrounded it with a border of some material in black bags, which I suppose is supposed to protect from detritus & runoff.  Nothing has happened since the stripping.  Well, except someone pried the plywood from a window, & perhaps went in & looked around.  That wasn't me.  I would've liked to do it, but I was raised to obey 'no trespassing' signs.  Also, I'm usually there with my dogs & who would watch them as I awkwardly shimmied through the window?

The lonely house hasn't changed at all since the first time I saw it.  Looking straight at it, you might not think it was empty.  It has a "no trespassing" sign on the front door which is conspicuously large, it pops out like an eye behind coke-bottle glasses.  But a private person might have such a sign, why not.  It's only when you look down the overgrown driveway to the side of the house that you see the windows have been boarded up.  Like the haunted house, there appears to be no sign of improvement or development.  It's just sitting there, lonesome, waiting patiently for its next act.  Someone once lived there.  Maybe someone will again.

Why leave the houses to be doomed, haunted, or lonely?  Your guess is as good as mine but we happened a couple of weeks ago upon a neighbor who was chatty about the house across the alley from hers.  We often walk by this house but never knew it was empty.  She explained it had been, for years - since she'd lived in the neighborhood, at least.  Now there was excitement - someone was doing repairs! painting! checking the foundation! all that good kinda stuff!  But why now?

The neighbor (whose name I don't remember, although I do remember the name of her rescue dog, which is Neil) told us that the house had been inherited by a couple of siblings - a brother & a sister - who squabbled about its fate.  The sister wanted to sell, the brother wanted to rent.  Unable to compromise, the house sat empty for years, maybe even a couple of decades.  What had changed?  The sister had died, it seems.  Now the house was being prepared for rental.  Is it weird to imagine that the sister cursed her brother's win before she died?  That, however she met her end, it took longer because of this certainly meaningless tiff?

The doomed house is almost certainly being demolished; its owner lives elsewhere, & tolerated the drug users & the hoarders as long as they paid rent.  When the damage they inflicted to the house & property became more than the market share of rent, they were evicted, the house closed up, & plans to sell the place were made.  It may no longer belong to the current owner, & people who live nearby worry what will eventually end up there.  An obnoxiously large & "modern" home?  A series of cramped townhouses? There are probably ways to find out that involve visiting city planning offices but there's a kind of nervous joy that comes from a guessing that feels like worrying.

The haunted house appears to be owned by folks who visit occasionally.  I think we might have seen them once - they appear to be quite old.  The property has a garden that is grown in the spring & summer - do the owners do it?  Or do they allow the neighbors to use the property?  One thing is sure, the place is falling apart.  I suspect left alone it would crumble in a couple of years.  & frankly it is left alone, mostly.

The lonely house remains lonely.  It should be my favorite but it isn't.  & that makes it even more lonely.

Friday, February 05, 2021

Supposed To Do That Places I Used To Live Thing But Tired

It's late Friday.  Had Indian food & a donut for dinner.  Just watched Bill Maher.  Am quite tired.  Want to sleep & wake up early because I have a show to put together.  The show's not live anymore, I wonder if I've mentioned that.  I need it in by midnight tomorrow.  I live tweet the show, though, so I am there live.  I also record the show as if it's live.  Anyway, the next place I've lived I think is my favorite.  I want time to write properly about it.  & I won't have that time tonight or probably even tomorrow.  Being tired is a fascinating feeling.  It's kind of a helpless feeling, really.  & when I get into bed I can't fall asleep right away no matter how tired I am.  I knew a girl once, we had sort of dated but remained friends, one of the men she was with after me, she was talking about him, maybe trying to make me jealous? Anyway, she told me that he would tell her, when they were in bed, "Good night," turn & immediately fall asleep. If she noticed any envy in my face it was that. Holy shit what an amazing superpower. I couldn't go to sleep immediately if my very life depended on it. Or the opposite. If someone said, "You know what? It doesn't matter if you fall asleep right away or not." My brain would be like, "Cool! I wonder what the zoning situation is in regards to alleys vis-a-vis homeless people parking old RVs in them." That was from today's nap. I set aside ninety minutes & managed to sleep probably 45. But then again I sometimes sleep without being aware I'm asleep, so that's unfair. Anyway, I am tired. My brain races when I'm tired. So this is what I'm going to write tonight. Sorry. I don't even know if I have the energy to find a picture of our old Fort Worth house. When the new owners have painted white. It's so strange. It's a brick house & they painted the bricks white. I can't bear to look at it. Time for sleeps now. Good night. If you check back in thirty, though, I'll probably still be awake.

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Self Help Radio 020221: Glow

(Original image here.)

Earlier today, on a dark winter morning in Portland, the only light came from the glow of the radio dial.  & what could you hear on that radio dial?  An episode of Self Help Radio that also glowed.  Because the show was about glow.  It may well have been the first bioluminescent broadcast in history.

Did it glow from some chemical process?  Is the show (as many have suspected) radioactive?  Was it simply cleverly backlit from a hidden light source?  No, it turns out it glowed because the songs themselves had the power to cause the radio to glow.  It may have been the only glow in the dark of the night - other radio shows in the area seemed to languish in the blackness.

Will it still glow in the obtrusive light of day?  That's for you to discover!  You can listen to the show in two places: at the KBOO website; & on the show's website at Self Help Radio dot net.  Should you choose the latter, be aware you'll need a username (SHR) & a password (selfhelp).  The show is also a tad longer - the KBOO version ends exactly at 3am, but I finished the song I was playing.  See below what you'll hear on the show.

The program should continue to glow for some time.

Self Help Radio Glow Show
"Glow" Al Jarreau _Glow_
"Glow" Breathless _Chasing Promises_
"A Glow" Okkervil River _Black Sheep Boy_

introduction & definitions

"Glow" Rick James _Glow_
"Glow" Hibou _Hibou_
"The Glow" The Prids _Until The World Is Beautiful..._
"The Glow" Bearhug _So Gone_
"Glow" Dreemtime _New York Lounge Funk_

interview with glowing person Elton Shore

"Glow In The Dark" Iggy Pop _Free_
"Glow In The Dark" The Bongos _Drums Along The Hudson_
"These Fish Glow In The Dark" Miniskirt _Woody Allen Likes Guitar Pop_
"Glow In The Dark" Death Valley Girls _Glow In The Dark_
"Everything Glows" Les Barker _Probably The Best Album Ever Made By Anybody In Our Street_

interview with the Rev Dr Howard Gently

"Moonglow" Billie Holiday _1952_
"Blue Glow" Pulp _Masters Of The Universe (Pulp On Fire 1985-86)_
"The Orange Glow" Globelamp _The Orange Glow_
"Lemon Glow" Beach House _7_
"A Beautiful Glow" Choice Four _On Top Of Clear_

Marge Most reports

"In The Glow" The Flower Machine _Lavender Lane_
"Amazing Glow" Pernice Brothers _Discover A Lovelier You_
"Glow Buddy" Lovely Bad Things _Teenage Grown Ups_
"The Moonlight Radiates A Purple Glow In His World" Salako _The Moonlight Radiates A Purple Glow In His World_
"Glow & Behold" Yuck _Glow & Behold_

a Self Help Radio list: animals that glow (feat. Ned Dry)

"Glow Worm" Johnny Mercer _Small Fry: Capitol Sings Kids' Songs For Grown-Ups_
"Glow Worms" Vashti Bunyan _Just Another Diamond Day_
"Glowworm" Apples In Stereo _Fun Trick Noisemaker_
"Orange Glow" Lightning Love _Blonde Album_
"The Glow" The Microphones _It Was Hot, We Stayed In The Water_

nothing planned for this airbreak

"Sunlight Bathed The Golden Glow" Felt _The Strange Idols Pattern & Other Short Stories_
"Glow" Screaming Lights _GMN/Glow_
"Easy Come, Uneasy Glow" Outrageous Cherry _Out There In The Dark_
"Glowing" Camera Shy _Camera Shy_
"The Glow Of Love" Change _The Disco Years (Boogie Fever) Volume Three_

conclusion, goodbye, & introduction to the afterglow

"Afterglow" Momus _Voyager_
"Afterglow" Foxtails Brigade _Time Is Passed_
"Afterglow" The Servants _Reserved_
"In The Afterglow" BMX Bandits _Theme Park_
"Afterglow" Chvrches _Every Open Eye_

Monday, February 01, 2021

Whither Glow?

(Image from here.)

Quick! Name ten things that glow! I'll go too! Neon signs! Fireflies! Jellyfish (some, not all)! The moon! Sunset! Radioactive elements (not all but I believe plutonium does)! Disgusting liquids at a crime scene under UV rays in a police procedural! Glow sticks (duh)! A light bulb! Zinc sulfide (I looked that one up)!

Maybe it's hard to name things that glow but boy things that glow are neat.  I never had those glowing stars some kids' parents put in their bedrooms (which are made with zinc sulfide) but I envied them.  Hey!  Another thing that glows is a night lite! & Lite Brite!  Just let your mind sink into the glow & you'll realize we're surrounded by glowing things.  & how wonderful that is.

Which brings me (sorry) to tonight Self Help Radio, which has the theme "glow," & which will probably not glow in the dark from midnight to 3am (it's technically Tuesday morning but it feels like Monday night).  You can listen in Portland at 90.7 fm & everywhere online at  It'll be much of the same thing but this time you can imagine it glowing!

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Preface To Glow: Idioms With Glow

Above is an actual entry at the idiom page of the Free Dictionary for the word "glow."  What the hell?  Why use the name Gary here?  Don't they know it's dying out?

It's been a while since I've talked about idioms on the show, which is a shame.  It's one of the most favorite things I do.  Alas, I don't think I'll have time to do it on Tuesday morning.  So I thought I'd share some here, in anticipation of the show about "glow."  These are from that page linked above.  Also linked there!

Besides "glow worm," noted above, there are two other uses of the word "glow" in relation to intoxication:

a glow: A mild alcohol or drug-induced high.
I don't want to get drunk tonight, I just want a nice glow.

have (got) a glow on: slang To become drunk.
Did he really have a glow on at the bar last night? Is that why he was acting so weird?

How long has it been since anyone has used glow in this way?  I believe it's been decades.

Here's another awkward use of the word "glow": glow up
1. verb To transform oneself in a significant way. The phrase can be applied to positive changes in one's appearance, but usually focuses more on one's successes in life & increased self-confidence. Modeled on the phrase "grow up."
I feel like I really glowed up this year because I started a great new job, ended a toxic relationship, & became comfortable with being single.
2. noun A significant self-transformation. The phrase can be applied to positive changes in one's appearance, but usually focuses more on one's successes in life & increased self-confidence. (Oooo. Déjà vu!)
I feel like I really had a glow up this year because I started a great new job, ended a toxic relationship, and became comfortable with being single.

Like the use of glow meaning drunk, this particular idiom hasn't been used in ages, if it ever was.  The folks who work in the idiom section of the lexicographer's office are awful lonely, & to pass the time, they add things to web sites like this in the hopes someone will find them & at the very least come to see them.

This is one of the those idioms that seems self-explanatory but I have spoken English nearly my entire life, so I can't imagine not figuring this out from context:

glow with (something)
1. To emanate light, typically due to the presence of heat.
The logs in the fireplace glowed with a soft light.
2. To show a particular emotion in one's facial expression.
The bride & groom have just been glowing with joy all day long.

By extension of the second definition, you get the following:

bask in the glow of approval (from someone)
To revel in the approval that has been shown to one by others.
She's still basking in the glow of approval from the critics who came to the play's opening night.
The boss had a lot of praise for my pitch today. I'm still basking in the glow of approval!

feel a glow of contentment
To feel delighted & satisfied.
The newlyweds are so cute—they really seem to be feeling a glow of contentment.

& finally, a related pair - so related, the person who wrote this page used the same sample sentences (!) rather than think of different ones.

in glowing colors
In a very complimentary, positive, or favorable manner.
You must have really impressed your teachers because they speak about you in very glowing colors.
That reviewer talked about the film in glowing colors, so I kind of want to see it now.

in glowing terms
In a very complimentary, positive, or favorable manner.
You must have really impressed your teachers because they speak about you in very glowing terms.
That reviewer talked about the film in glowing terms, so I kind of want to see it now.


Those are some glow idioms.  It would have been a nice way to pass a late-in-the-show airbreak.  Instead, it's a hopefully tolerable way to pass a pre-show blog entry.