Saturday, September 04, 2021

Another Loss

We said goodbye to our beloved Bronte this morning.  That picture above is from her 14th birthday, which was barely a month ago.  She was beset by all manner of ailments, as I described previous on this blog here & here, but recently her kidneys began to fail, & despite our best efforts, it progressed too fast & took her from us with very little warning.

There's so much more to write about her but I have been crying & grieving all day long, & of course spending time with her remaining siblings.  Something about loss makes one feel acutely aware there's not enough time to love the ones you love so you try to make up for it.

If I were a poet or a musician, I'd write songs about her, so sweet & magical was that unbelievably fuzzy cat.  To think when she turned up on our doorstep twelve years ago I thought we didn't need another cat!  My wife knew better, & this morning, after her death, we looked at the hundreds of photos we have of her, & remembered her in healthier, happier times.

Our beautiful fuzznika.  I hope she knew how loved she was.

Friday, September 03, 2021

Home Ec

(image from here.)

In middle school - in eighth grade - I took a Home Economics course.  I don't remember too much about it except a) we made pizza, which I love, & b) I sat near some guys who didn't know I existed & listened to them talk about their lives & watched them torture geeks in the class that I had much more in common with.  It was a strange crash course in being a fourteen-year-old boy in Texas in the early 1980s.  They had tips on bathing, clothing, & girls that I had otherwise no access to.  I kinda wish I took notes but also that I could've asked them follow-up questions without getting mocked or possibly beaten up.

That I was ignored was sort of par for the course for my middle & high school years, although my older brothers did their level best to terrify me & make me think I'd be picked on & abused by the mean kids or the cool kids or whatever.  It's sad that that's what I got out of Home Ec though, because it would've been nice to learn something about cooking.  Or life, really.

Previously on this blog, I've complained - or maybe I've just noted - that my upbringing, including my schooling, left me utterly unprepared for adulthood.  I have friends who share this thought.  As I get older, I realize that there's so much more that could have been taught than cooking.  It's probably impossible to tell children who believe they're immortal & invulnerable that death looms sooner than they think.  That you may have to spend considerable time & resources taking care of aging parents & other relatives.  That you yourself may become a parent.  That there's a chance you'll struggle with mental illness, with addiction, with chronic health issues - or that you'll be close to someone, either a family member or someone you're in a relationship with, who has these challenges.  & maybe someone should spend a little time talking to anyone who might want to own a pet about all that entails, the love & the heartache.

This morning a neighbor who works in the mental health field & I talked about this.  Last year my mother died but she suffered from late-stage Alzheimer's before it happened.  Before that, she had health issues & good ol' fashioned senility, & fortunately my sister took her in & cared for her the last years of her life.  My wife is good about reminding me that we have no children & therefore will not have that option - as she helps her sisters take care of her own aged mother.

Not that I would've taken any of that seriously, the whole idea of life lessons.  But I feel like someone should've tried, with the same imperceptible vigor with which they tried to teach us the passive voice or the age of the earth or the quadratic theorem.  Holy shit, maybe they did.  But no, I think I would've remembered my few friends & I making fun of the utterly square teacher trying to explain to us about aging relatives.

It's no consolation that it was a "learning on the job" moment for my mother when her parents got to that point.  I take no comfort that the previous generation was as ill-prepared for life as I was.  & I have no real way to end this dumb meditation on the problems of time & age.  It just happens to be on my mind.

Shouldn't I be talking about a radio show or something?  Sheesh.

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Self Help Radio 083121: Indiepop A To Z # 66

(All images from Discogs.)

You know the drill!  Another four months, another dizzying set of delicious indiepop in a semblance of alphabetical order.  This time around - still in the letter P! - we started with the Pets & ended up with Pixies.  & don't fight me, I know Pixies aren't indiepop.  I often add bands I feel are indiepop-adjacent or influential to the genre - & Pixies influenced lots of bands, including ones much more twee than they.

The show was live in the KBOO studio, & I managed to say a few things in-between the songs.  I also decided against including a performer I wanted to include - but you'll have to listen to hear my real-time decision making.  Truly it was gripping radio.

You can listen now & whenever at both the Self Help Radio website & at the show's page at the KBOO website.  If you go to the former, make sure you remember you'll need a username (SHR) & a password (selfhelp).  Otherwise, both recordings are exactly the same.  Every song I played is below.

Back to the normal nonsense next week!

Self Help Radio Indiepop A To Z # 66
"A Lighthearted Lovesong" The Pets _Love & War_
"Timeless Words" Petset _Sound-Sphere_
"Suicide Mind" Phantom Dog _Suicide Mind_

"She Means Everything To Me" Louis Philippe _Jackie Girl_
"Young Love Be Your Monkey Tonight" The Philips _The Ammonites/The Philips split_
"The Sinking Of The S.S. Danehower" The Philistines Jr. _The Sinking Of The S.S. Danehower_
"Pink Frost" Martin Phillipps _Songs From Solo Below_
"The First Phrase At High Noon" Phoebe Quest _The Windward Sound_

"Silent Place" Phony _Good Times - Silent Place EP_
"Watermelon Crush" Photo Jenny _Pop Japanese Style!_
"La Fuite En Arrière (En-joy) (The Escape Back)" Photon _Between Two Waves: The Second Wave_
"Radio Girl" Pi Ja Ma _In The Air EP_
"Pretend To Be Here" Pia Fraus _Nature Heart Software_

"Non-Fiction" Piano Magic _Seasonally Affective (A Piano Magic Retrospective 1996-2000)_
"(A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The) Toystore" Pianosaurus _Groovy Neighborhood_
"Lie Until Dawn" The Picasso Twins _Some Mardi Sandwich_
"Don't Turn Around" Picnic _Plug EP_
"Dead" Picture Center _Dead_

"Wet Dream" The Piers _Secretly In Love & Everybody Knew EP_
"Smoke" Pigeons _Liasons_
"Chemically Yours" Pilgrims _Something's Burning In Paradise_
"Monday Suit" Pillow _Learning To Labour_
"Tropic Of Capricorn" The Piltdowns _Will There Be Time For Tea?_

"Milk Bar" The Pines _It's Been A While_
"Thin End Of The Wedge" Pink Noise _Thin End Of The Wedge_
"Shelly Anne" Pinkie _Sharon Fussy_
"Burn The Citadel Down" Pinkie & His Band _Pinkie & His Band_
"Glow Vastly" Pinkshinyultrablast _Grandfeathered_

"I'm On The Inside" Pinky _I'm On The Inside_
"Mortal Soul" Pinto _Short Songs About Longing Are Better Than Long Songs About Shortcomings_
"Cruel & Unusual" Pipas _A Cat Escaped_
"Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me" The Pipettes _We Are The Pipettes_
"Even Flu Can't Kill You" Pirigwa _Butane Gas Mon Cher_

"The Knife Thrower's Daughter" Piroshka _Love Drips & Gathers_
"Bags Of Gold" Jay Jay Pistolet _Happy Birthday You_
"Jump Out From The Bed!" Pitcher56 _Her Abiding Memory_
"BST" The Pitkins _Killing Me Again_
"Shine" Pitwork _Shine_

"September" Pity Sex _White Hot Moon_
"Gigantic" Pixies _Surfer Rosa_

Monday, August 30, 2021

Whither Indiepop A To Z # 66?

(image from here)

There have been - let me check - oh yes - 65 - that's sixty-five - previously episodes of the Indiepop A To Z series.  There's nothing really I can tell you about the shows that you probably haven't already heard.  But in case you haven't:

Every four months or so I return to a series I began in Austin a very long time ago in which I attempt to play bands who fall into the "indiepop" category (what is indiepop?) plus sometimes bands that I believe are influential to the genre as well as some indiepop-adjacent bands I feel are somehow important to include (sometimes just because I like them).

65 episodes seems a lot, so I must already be done, yes?  No.  I began the letter P on the 63rd episode & there are lots of performers & musicians who start with that letter.  I will begin with the band The Pets, pictured above.  I am not sure where I will end, but it won't be at the letter Q.  Not tonight.

Personally I love this genre & I believe it makes great radio.  But you be the judge.  Listen tonight from midnight to 3am on 90.7fm KBOO Portland, online at & decide.

Would it sweeten the pot to know I'm doing the show live?  I mean, it at the very least means I'll make dumb mistakes!

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Preface To Indiepop A To Z # 66: Still In The Letter P

(image from here)

Just sitting here listening to bands whose names start with the letter P.  Being kind of chill about it because I get to do the show live.  I can't tell you how great it is not to have to worry about recording.  It does feed into my deeply held belief in procrastination, it's true.  But it's also relaxing.

Not that procrastination is relaxing, but somehow I don't get worried about getting things done on time until it's nearly time.  Then I do worry.  & make no mistake, I am more wound up as midnight on Monday approaches - especially if I am still in the process of gathering.  Because I almost always feel like I never have enough.

Anyway, I am listening to songs now for tomorrow's show & I'm thinking, wow, it would be fun to simply have a bunch of people who love indiepop sit around & pick songs for the show.  What is the most representative of this artist?  That would be fun.  Right now, it's just me & a few animals sleeping behind me.  & I don't think they're really listening.