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Showing posts from April, 2011

Thrustmaster 5000

As much as I love running with my dog, my legs thought otherwise. Even though I stretched before and afterwards, there would be times when I felt weakness in my legs. Usually I'd feel this while sitting at my job. I thought long and hard about other alternatives to getting a good exercise. The bike has been a wonderful thing (and still is), but I considered options with working my upper body when I wasn't on my bike. Joining a gym is still not an option for me. (Nothing like making an evening out of an hour workout with the time spent going there, changing, working out, showering, changing again, going home, and heading to bed.) Luckily something literally came into my life as I helped Diana move into her parents' house: a HealthRider Elliptical. Diana's mother no longer had a use for hers (and it was taking up space in their house), so she offered it to me. I gladly accepted and found a place for it in my TV room. Just a few days in, the thing was a pure joy to work wi

My first show

This week's edition is with Chuck Ragan from Hot Water Music, someone I interviewed extensively for Post . I kinda forgot that we already talked about Hot Water's first show in the book, hence why my question in the column sounds like I know a little too much about it.


It comes with a sense of surrender admitting I have decided to raise my texting limit on my cell phone. Gone are the days where 200 texts a month were enough for me. Now with only a few dollars more, I can text anyone else in my network before and after the cows come home. I have ample amount of texts a month for those out of my network, but it's not unlimited. (That's OK with me.) I don't think there's anything wrong with texting. I simply don't want my primary ways of communicating to sound like I'm a one-sentence instant messenger with the aptitude of two sentences total. Meaning, if you send me a message and it's not condensed into one or two sentences, I'll malfunction. Plus, just because I have no limit on messages means I should giving up calling people. I'm not a robot and nobody should be one either. For the past few years, I've found texting to be much easier to get a hold of people. If you want to have an in-depth conversation with som


Prior to Diana having lymphoma, I confused it with emphysema. That was the kind of cancer for folks who didn't take care of themselves, right? Karmic payback, in a way, for those who knew smoking was bad for them, but they kept smoking throughout their life? Moreover, I thought of lung cancer in the context of Walter White on Breaking Bad . The guy never smoked a day in his life and now he has a rare (and very aggressive) form of cancer. You couldn't blame a guy for being drawn to full measures because he has nothing left to proverbially lose. But that's a TV show, based on provocative, one-in-a-million stories from real life and turning them into a gripping drama. This was Sunday night entertainment, not everyday life. The first time I heard of Hodgkins lymphoma was when Mario Lemieux said he had it. I knew he was leaving hockey and would lose his hair (and nobody knew if he would come back to the NHL). I remember watching Sportscenter and feeling bad for the guy. Here wa


I took in a screening of (500) Days of Summer the other night and a lot of things rang familiar. As in, I was reminded how I almost made a film like this in college. By no means am I claiming theft of idea. Hell, the movie was much better than (and pretty different from) what my script was. But as I watched the credits roll, I thought about a project I almost did. Towards the end of my time in college, I entered a screenwriting/directing contest through the radio-TV-film department. The winning script would be made into a short film with the guidance of a Hollywood producer. Nothing huge, but a great experience nevertheless. At the time, I was still in a fog about my first relationship falling apart. I spent a lot of time watching Clerks , Mallrats , Chasing Amy , Swingers , and High Fidelity , so my script came from that kind of influence. It was hurt disguised by jokes, complete with quick cuts, visual gags, and quips. The only parallels with (500) are a couple of plot points, but

My first show

This week's edition is with a guy I can really relate to: Joel Buchanan often air-drums as he DJs with FEVER. He shares plenty of good stories, especially when Dennis Rodman showed up onstage with Pearl Jam.

Medium Rare

Record Store Day came and went. I attempted to get some stuff, but was shut out before I could even get my feet in a door. With no disrespect to the establishment I went to early on Saturday morning (I've been to this place many times before and I will definitely go back), the line was way too long for me to consider standing in. I only had a couple of special releases on my mind to ponder buying (not necessarily buy on first sight) and there would be no guarantee this store would even have them. After surveying the line going through the parking lot and around the corner, I had other things to do and went ahead with doing them. Coming back to my car, I thought very positive thoughts at this sight. At a time when you hear enough about how terrible the music industry's sales are and this chain store is reducing its music stock and whatnot, local record stores and used bookstores continue to remain healthy. I'm quite sure those will be the only game in town some day, but I


I must credit the man I learned from on how to be a traffic reporter, in regards to his passing on April 15th. I know I thanked him in person at some point during the nine years I worked with him -- and while I can't remember when I told him, I remember how he smiled. In some ways, I've been thanking him everyday. Even to this day, how I report traffic conditions -- in terms of accidents, road work, disabled vehicles, and general congestion -- is all because of Ben Laurie. I came into contact with Ben when I produced the afternoon show on KLUV. For a few months, I never met him but I heard his reports through a channel on the mixing board in the main studio. Not until helicopter maintenance forced him to come into the studio and do reports did I finally get to meet him. I remember asking my boss Chuck about what Ben looked like. Chuck, ever the deadpan jokester, told me Ben was tall, large, and balding. When Ben showed up, he was none of those three. And he was incredibly kind,

My first show

Wanz Dover was very nice enough to participate in this week's edition . He had told me a few years ago about the Fugazi show he saw in the early '90s. It was nice to tie his story in with Our Band Could Be Your Life .

Unsolicited writing advice

Blame it on a little bout of writer's block, but things have been a little lagging on the book writing front. Many bigger issues have come up and I've put the book on the side for the last few weeks. But last week, on a whim, I did something that has inspired me to get back in motion. Thus, I'd like to share another bit of unsolicited book writing advice. I can't stress how important it is to have a trusted source read your manuscript before you throw something out to the public. Whether it's your spouse, good friend, or family member, whoever can give you usable and helpful advice can inspire you in many ways. Ways that you probably never saw coming. In my most recent case, I let my friend Amy read over the first chapter of When We Were the Kids . In turn, she let me read the first two chapters of a novel she's working on. Her feedback made sense. She dug the material. The only drawbacks she found were drawbacks I've wanted to work on/fix. And she didn'

Back and Forth

Chalk it up to good marketing and timing, but I have to give major respect to the Foo Fighters for Back and Forth , James Moll's documentary on the band . So much so that I'm circling back around to items in their back catalog that I never really gave a chance. And yes, I'd really like to hear their newest record, Wasting Light . (High five, publicists!) I became a fan of the band back when I heard them on Pearl Jam's all night satellite radio show. Mere weeks before this, I read Greg Dulli praise Dave Grohl's newest project in Rolling Stone . Even though it was Grohl playing all the instruments, hearing demos of "Gas Chamber" and "Exhausted" sounded like a band to me. A pretty incredible band, mind you. I spent a lot of time listening to the Foo Fighters self-titled debut, whether I was in my room or on the band bus on the way back from a football game. It was one of regulars in rotation for me, along with a number of records out at the time. I

Show me your attitude

When people ask about my attitude about Diana's prognosis, I say I am cautiously optimistic. There's no real point in thinking the worst is going to happen. Yet it seems like thinking about the worst somehow prepares you if it does come to that. Well, if I've learned anything big out of this life so far, it's how you can imagine all you want about what happens next. What actually happens is sometimes completely different from how you thought it would be. Whether it's for the best or for the worst, imagination remains as imagination. My head is not in sand here, but there's no reason not to think about positive outcomes. This is a completely treatable form of lymphoma that was caught early. Why should I get into bed with despair? I will not lie though: every day since the diagnosis has had its emotional ups and downs. As much as she stays strong (and those closest to her do the same), there are times when things feel overpowering. Chemotherapy is not some easy-br

Big Waves

We're only four months into 2011, but I'm quite sure Rival Schools' Pedals will be talked about as one of my favorites of the year. When I started rating albums as top favorites of the year, I knew I had to have a deep personal bond with it. Not in the sense that it's what I think best represents rock or what my friends will agree with. No, it's got to be the soundtrack of my year. If I were to sum up my year in an album, it had to be this one or that one. Rival Schools' 2001 debut, United By Fate , came out at a critical time in my life. I was preparing for my final semester in college and thinking about my post-college life. In order for me to have a smooth transition between those two, I was convinced I had to do another internship in radio. The marbles were in place, but something almost derailed the train. I came back to school all ready to turn in paperwork for this internship. Then I got an earful from the head of the RTVF office about what and what shou