Friday, November 18, 2011

Why I Know What I Know

I grew up listening to entertainment/informative talk radio.  Due to Herb Shaindlin, an Alaskan radio legend,  I sought out old time radio and audiobooks and all sorts of aural entertainment.  I'm addicted.

Exhibit A:

Podcasts to which I currently subscribe: (Highlighted are my favorites)

Answer B!tch
BTR: True Murder
Comedy Film Nerds
Common Sense with Dan Carlin
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History
The Dork Forest
Doug Loves Movies
Freakonomics Radio
Girl on Guy with Aisha Tyler
H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast
The Hollywood Saloon
Horror etc
How Did This Get Made
Judge John Hodgman
Monster Talk
The Moth
MSNBC Rachel Maddow Audio
The Nerdist
NPR: Car Talk
NPR: Planet Money
NPR: Fresh Air
NPR: Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me
Real Time with Bill Maher audio
Sklarbro Country
Slate’s Culture Gabfest
Slate’s Political Gabfest
The Smartest Man in the World (Greg Proops)
The Sporkful
Stuff You Should Know
Stuff Mom Never Told You
Stuff You missed in History
Tech Stuff
This American Life
This Week with Larry Miller
TV Ate My Dinner
Who Charted?
WTF with Marc Maron
You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

Add to these the audiobooks I listen to and you'll understand why I wear headphones about 20 hours a day (except on workdays when i wear a headset for 11 hours and then headphones at home for about 8 more).

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

And then came the sax solo and it blew my mind

And here’s why I don’t post prose very often on this blog. 

Since Journey was born, two years ago next week, I haven’t frankly had the time. When she was a tiny baby she didn’t sleep for very long therefore neither Kelli nor I got much sleep.  As she’s gotten older she sleeps more but her waking hours require much more energy to keep up with her.  

And the puppy.  A little advice from your old buddy E, if you have a toddler resist the urge to get a puppy.  I love my wife and my wife is the dog person in the family but even she would agree on this one.  

Well really I have not as much time left for me.  I love being a dad and wouldn’t change it for the world but it has meant that I have very little time to myself.  Sure I can carve out a half hour here or an hour there but there’s just so much stuff to do during that time.  Dishes, for instance.  I can’t load or unload the dishwasher unless the girl and the dog are both napping or otherwise out from underfoot.   Literally underfoot.   When the girl does something particularly cute I will try to take pictures and that takes very little time and energy.  Editing the pictures for posting online or printing takes time -time when I can concentrate at least a little.   Writing an actual story about something?  Usually not.  

12-hour work days leaves little time for before-work or after work-activities, especially when I just want to sleep.  Days I don’t work are spent either watching the girl all day or doing errands with Kelli and the girl.  Again, it seems like I’m whining but I’m just stating the facts.  

 ‘Lord I’m so tired.  How long can this go on?’   Did I mention I work 12 hour days?  Okay, so if you are reading this you either work the same hours I do or pretty close so I don’t expect sympathy.  But back to the Coal Mine.  Here’s where it gets weird:  I don’t listen to as much music as I used to but I see musicians everywhere.  For instance, Mark Mothersbaugh from DEVO is on Yo Gabba Gabba which is one of Journey’s favorite shows on Nick Jr.   I love Nick Jr.  Jack’s Big Music show is my favorite but Journey prefers Olivia.   

Another reason I haven’t written a lot is that most of my unusual experiences happen at the Coal Mine.  Well, the mine boss doesn’t want us to talk about the mine or mining or in any way identify ourselves as miners.  Since mining feels my family, no more stories about the mine.  

What time I can steal for myself is usually just spent doing something mindless, even when it starts out otherwise.  For instance tonight while Journey and Kelli were snuggling in our bed watching TV and having mother / daughter time I started writing about Occupy Wall Street, more precisely how I feel about Occupy Wall Street.    
Turns out the way I feel reminds me of the Mothers of Invention song “Trouble Every Day,” written by Frank Zappa in 1965 about the Watts riots (and the media and a bunch of stuff).  So here’s a peek behind the curtain of how Eric’s mind works (and stuff doesn’t get written): 

Step One:  Go online for a copy of the lyrics to Trouble Every Day

Step Two:  Read the lyrics to see if they match what I hear when I listen to it.  Sometimes this means going back for another source on Step One. 

Step Three:   Copy the lyrics onto the blank page and start annotating them.  

Step Four:   Check Wikipedia to fact-check my dates and see if there are any links to interesting Trouble Every Day stories (in this case, not so much). 

Step Five:  While I’m thinking about the song I might as well listen to it while I write.  Instead of listening to it from my own ripped CDs, I figure I can find a version on YouTube which I could then link right in my post so you can listen along too. 

Step Six:  I see on the YouTube sidebar that there are other versions of Trouble Every Day recorded live on video at several different venues and times.  I click on a couple. 

Step Seven:  I remember how great a guitarist Frank Zappa was.  I click on other Frank Zappa videos. 

Step Eight:  I see a link to Dweezil Zappa vs Steve Vai from Zappa Plays Zappa.  Clicky the link.  Magical. 

Step Nine:  Click on half a dozen other videos including but not limited to:  Orianthi Panagaris ( I wondered who that girl was in the Michael Jackson ‘This is It’ outtakes), more G3 Satriani/Vai/Whoever, A bunch of kids (individually) doing amazing guitar solos.   

Step Ten: Having spent all that time looking at videos and listening to music, the Occupy Wall Street thread in my head is gone and besides that the baby needs changed and pajama’d and put to bed.  

Step Eleven: throw this together and put in some links and photos to keep your interest. 

All this being said, I do intend to write more.  I just have budget time to do it and then not spend that time doing something else.  See also: get back to stained glass, archive all of my music and photos so they are easily accessible on the computer, etc.  

In the mean time, there’s no way to delay that trouble comin’every day