Saturday, January 14, 2023


After the unhappy loss of both Bolan & Winston, our little house felt a bit empty. Our remaining cat Boone seemed to be affected by the loss of Bolan in particular - this past week he woke us at night crying in a doleful way, prompting us to call him to us. We wondered if he were lonesome - he waited at the door for us when we went for dog walks - & thought maybe he needed a sibling.

My wife spent a large part of the last week seeking that sibling. It was not an easy search - people in the Portland area love their cats, & we found that inquiring about a particular kitten at a shelter might mean it would be adopted before the response - but yesterday we heard from the Humane Society in Salem, an hour to the south. My wife had fallen for a grey tabby & we went to meet him.

We brought him home today. His picture is above. Our cat Boone was not initially happy; he remains skeptical. Our two dogs seem a bit perplexed. They tolerate him if he ignores them, but are a mite aggressive if he wants to engage. Tonight, as I had a little whiskey, the new kitten fell asleep with my wife on the sofa. We put him in a crate & we hope he'll be okay for a few hours. I told my wife, "Go to him as soon as you wake up!"

His name is Bluto. I forget his shelter name. It was the name of a cleaning product. We discussed other names but this is the one we agreed on. Though he's tiny, he may yet grow up to be a bruiser. Right now, though, he's the sweetest damn thing you've ever met.

This is the thing about pets: it doesn't matter the wound left by the loss of the animals you love, your heart, if it's healthy, will expand to allow others in. I think Bolan & Winston would approve. Or at least understand - holy smokes, they'd think, Dad is adopting someone else. It happened throughout their lives.

They both knew it didn't mean I loved them less. It meant I had enough love for them & more. As Bolan's namesake once sang, "Deep in my heart, there's a room that can hold just about all of you."

Friday, January 13, 2023

In 1987 I Spent Three Months In A 7-11

(This is not what the store I worked in looked like - but it's close. Image from here.)

This is the time of year when my birthday appears, & when that happens, I revisit a year of my life. This year I've made it up to 1987, & I'll play on the show some of my favorite music of 1987.  On the blog here, I'll talk about my life. What I can remember of it.

In January of 1987 I turned 19 years old. I finished my first year of college. I wasn't a happy person & didn't really have much love in my life - there was a person whom I thought of as my best friend, but mostly he treated me with condescension & contempt. Most of that year we lived apart so I didn't see him much. I wish he had stopped talking to me but alas he wasn't through using my kindness yet.

What I wanted to talk about here though was 7-11. Yes, the convenience store. Because my father had worked for the Southland corporation, I was able to win a scholarship from them. I naïvely thought I might get a summer job with them in their Dallas corporate offices. They told me they'd gladly hire me - to work at one of their stores.

The store I worked at no longer exists.  It was in a triangular patch of land where South First Street ran into Broadway Boulevard.  This is what's there now (looking southeast from First Street):

(image from Ggooel Pasm)

The Auto Zone building is where the parking lot used to be; where the Auto Zone parking lot is stood a tiny strip mall with the 7-11, &, to east, a couple of shops. One sold beauty products*, but I can't recall what the other business was.  I worked nights, the 7-11 was the only thing open. Maybe it was unoccupied,

The building behind the Auto Zone - which used to be across the parking lot from the 7-11 - is now owned by Verizon, but it used to be a Bell Telephone place.  People worked there all night long - they often came over to get coffee & candy bars.

It wasn't a bad job & I didn't have a car so I didn't do much that summer. I have three anecdotes about my time working at 7-11 in the summer of 1987.

For training, I had to borrow my sister's car, which was an old red Subaru with a stick shift.  I had to drive it into Dallas at some special 7-11 with little room for training in the back. The people I trained with did not like me. I think when I mentioned I was home from college, they thought I was boasting or something. One of them was particularly nasty to me. I remember she was extolling the virtues of renting-to-own, something my family didn't really do because we were too poor for even that. I was curious about it. I asked her how much she paid for her television or something. I asked how long she would be paying it. Then I asked what an average television costs. It was discovered she would own the television after paying more than three times what it was worth. I said, "Wouldn't it be smarter to save the money & then buy the television at a store?" She said, "Shut the fuck up, college boy."

One day I gave a ride home to one of the fellow trainees. She was young & pretty & I had no chance with her. I was a bit more hopeful then, I thought maybe I could charm her anyway. She lived in Oak Cliff, opposite the direction I would take to get home. When I got back to my sister's, they were furious with me. But the upside was, driving in Dallas traffic helped me learn how to use a standard or manual transmission. There were moments when getting out of first gear was life or death - I remember being in the middle of an intersection & thinking to myself, "Boy! Don't you wish you believed in some kind of god to ask for help now!"

Just as I started the job, I injured myself. A classmate named William - who would become my roommate for my second year of college - asked me if, while his family visited relatives, I would watch their dog. He assured me that I could go there twice a day, feed the dog, let it out, & it would be fine. I said yes because I am chronically nice. So I went in the evening before work, & visited after work. It became very clear the poor dog was lonely & also unable to wait for me to let it out. I found myself having to clean dog shit off the floors & carpets. I don't know how long it was before it happened, but one morning, very exhausted, I tried desperately to get the dog to go outside & do his business. I hopped around the backyard then tripped myself on a tree root growing out of the ground. I sprained my ankle pretty bad - the pain was unbearable. The dog just wanted to be loved, it was so lonely.

I managed to make it back to my sister's - it was her car I was using. The foot I sprained was my left one - you know, the one you use for the clutch. I was weeping openly because it hurt so much to change gears. To help me deal with the pain, I turned the music in the car up as loud as possible & shrieked along.  I remember just hollering the Smiths' "Rubber Ring" as I made my way back to my sister's**. When I got there, she looked at my ankle, which had swollen to the size of a melon. At one point I appeared to pass out in the chair.  When I came to, I said, "I think I fainted."

"No," my sister said, "you went into shock."

But I survived - I rode in my first ambulance, I believe - but the worst part was my mother "taking care" of me at home for two weeks. She meant well but boy did she complain about all the sad music I was listening to.

Finally, I was able to work at 7-11, probably starting in late May or early June. Garland at the time was dry, meaning you couldn't buy alcohol beverages anywhere, & 7-11 had phased out the mainstream pornographic magazines because of pressure from the religious right. We didn't even have a hot dog or nacho set-up. People mainly came in for soda, coffee, or cigarettes. Cigarettes were the biggest business.

There were many tasks to do & mainly the night was quiet, but usually lots of folks would show up around 2am, after the bars closed in Dallas. One such night there was a flurry of activity & when the last person left the store I remember feeling like there should be someone there. You get a sense for these things. But there was no one else in the store, so I continued doing my work, at one point going into the back room where I saw that a trash bag I had recently replaced had somehow fallen into the trash can. I sighed at my shoddy work & made a mental note to fix it later - I was probably restocking shelves.

When another group of people came in, a fellow emerged from the back room with a giant trash bag full of what I later found out were cartons of cigarette. I said "Hey!" but he strode calmly, quickly, to the front door, & once outside, ran to the left. I followed him & even got a license plate number but later got yelled at for doing so. We were to never put ourselves in danger. My young manager, who was a Southland executive whose own training involved managing a group of stores in a region before he went on to I guess was more administrative work, told me later that the car had been stolen***.

That manager liked me & was disappointed when I went back to college. I wish I had learned my lesson & just stayed in Austin for the summer, but I would repeat that mistake the next year.

Memories of 1987 are a jumble for me. These stories I tell won't be in chronological order. But I suspect I've bored you enough for today.

* It's a dumb thing to remember, but I know it was a beauty store - maybe even a salon - because before I left I went over to ask if they had any extra old posters that advertising products you can only buy in a beauty shop, with close-ups of woman's heads. I somehow thought it would be cool to decorate my apartment in Austin with those posters. They did not have any extras.

** Imagine, Bob Dylan recently said that music never saved anyone's life!

*** I wonder where he was in the back room when I came in & noticed the trash bag - which was probably full of cartons of cigarettes. Would he have assaulted me if I noticed? Was I lucky I blamed myself & had other things to do?

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Self Help Radio 011023: Napping

For a radio show like Self Help Radio, widely regarded as "lazy," a show about naps seems appropriate. Alas, if Self Help Radio is on, it's likely to ruin one's nap. We'll split the difference & encourage you to nap during this week's show, which is about napping.

As you can see on the playlist below, lots of songs about naps were played, four oddballs were interviewed, & we even had a siesta set. I wish I could say I napped during the show - I did not - but almost certainly I dozed off a few times. Though I do that, to be honest, during most of my shows.

Whether napping or not, you can listen to the show now or whenever at either the KBOO website or at the Self Help Radio website. Should you opt for the show's website, remember you will need a username (which is SHR) & a password (which is selfhelp) to access the file. The cool thing is it's downloadable, unlike the stream at the KBOO site,

Okay. Time for a nap!

Self Help Radio Naps Show
"Naptime" Bert & Ernie _What Time Is It On Sesame Street_
"I Need A Nap" Coal Train Railroad _Coal Train Railroad_
"Naptime" Charlie Hope _I'm Me! (A Collection Of Songs For Children)_

introduction & definitions

"The Nap" It's A Musical _For Years & Years_
"Have A Nap Mom" The Salteens _Kid Songs_
"Daddy Take A Nap" Loudon Wainwright III _I'm Alright_
"Nap, Nap, Nap" The Opera Bell Band _Lazy, Tired, & Uninspired_
"Disco Nap" Luke The Knife _Disco Nap_

interview with Alex Jay, who likes to nap with people

"Cat Nap" Ding Dong Devils _Hello Little Olives!_
"Cat Nap" The Glow Cats _Cat Bits_
"Catnap" Kaito _You've Seen Us... You Must Have Seen Us..._
"Fat Nap" Petty Crimes _Fat Nap EP_
"Recuperative Effects Of Napping" Fly Spinach Fly _Nature's Candy_

interview with sleep expert Leonard Sharp

"Siesta" Frank Sinatra _Sinatra In Hollywood: 1940-1964_
"Siesta" Bob Wills & Tommy Duncan With The Texas Playboys _Faded Love 1947-1973_
"Siesta Fiesta" Dean Martin _Dream With Dean + Everybody Loves Somebody_
"Siesta" Jim Gaffigan _The Pale Tourist_
"Siesta" The Zebras _Siesta_
"La Siesta" Biarritz _De Paseo_

interview with competitive napper Reggie Masterson

"Gonna Catch You Nappin'" The Avons _Golden Classics_
"You Caught Me Napping" The Lamp Sisters _No Cure For The Blues_
"I Caught You Napping" Invisible Ink _Lite Up The Stereo..._
"Caught Napping" Dean Carter _Grimoires_
"Aurora Caught Napping" Herd Of Mers _Aurora Caught Napping_
"I Catch You Napping" Pinkshinyultrablast _Grandfeathered_

interview with napping opponent Dr. Ashley Kent

"Nap To Do" The Bunnies _Ooh Wee Baby_
"The Nap" Baleine 3000 _The Nap_
"Nap Song" Kikagaku Moyo _Kumoyo Island_
"Napping On The Bamboo" Yosuke Yamashita, Bill Laswell, & Ryuichi Sakamoto _Asian Games_
"Afternoon Nap (For Pets)" Lullatone _Little Songs About Raindrops_

a short discussion of inemuri

"Napping In Japan" Tiny Desk Unit _Naples_
"A Nap At Truthtime, Some Magic Slips Away" Dave Fischoff _The Ox & The Rainbow_
"Even Marathon Runners Need To Nap" Troubled Hubble _Making Beds In A Burning House_
"Start Taking Naps" Shelby Sifers _Run Around, Run Around_
"Nap King" Sybris _Into The Trees_
"Gregorian Nap" Nightbird Casino _Gregorian Nap_

conclusion & goodbye

"Nap Trap" The Bicycles _Stop Thinking So Much_
"Nap" Wimps _Repeat_
"Nap Time: Twelve-Tone Lullaby" Grandma Sparrow _Grandma Sparrow & His Piddletractor Orchestra_
"Power Nap" Alphabets _Power Nap_
"Nap Gate" Wurld Series _What's Growing_"Nappin' In Lapland" The Nothing _Stroke: Songs For Chris Knox_

Monday, January 09, 2023

Whither Napping?

Lazy girl.

Ultimately I think I prefer naps to an actual "full night's sleep." It's only some convention & regular obligations that keep me from just being up as long as I want & napping when I get a little weary. I suspect that in the absence of any responsibilities my sleep cycle might ultimately resemble a Rube Goldberg machine.

That being said, while there are lots & lots & lots of songs about sleep, I found barely enough songs about naps to fill three hours.  Not that there weren't more songs, I just wanted to play songs I actually liked. & while napping is a very common subject of lots of electronica, I felt like playing too much of that would be a cheat.

The results of my labors (put together on a day without a nap!) are happening from midnight to 3am Portland time on 90.7 fm.  More information is available at but I do not think we're currently streaming. More information about that on the website too.

No worries!  If you're busy sleeping or - better still - napping, I'll have it up on the Self Help Radio website forthwith.

Sweet dreams!

Sunday, January 08, 2023

Preface To Napping: Addicted To Naps

(pretty sure I found this at

Strangely enough I didn't nap today. Or I did. It was for about fifteen minutes.  Not really a nap for me.

But I do like to nap. Often for two hours or more. I've met people who can nap for fifteen or thirty minutes but that doesn't really help me all that much.

The naps I miss most weren't really naps. They were the moments when you nodded off in class. It was somewhat dangerous to do that in high school but in large college classes it was very, very hard to stay awake. I got so much rest in those giant auditoriums.

The show this week will celebrate all kinds of naps. Even if I don't get a nap tomorrow either.