Well, Thelonious Monk's "All Alone" is playing on my iTunes, as I prepare to do anything but what I should be doing right now. I have a lot of think about, and a lot to do in the next few days, and yet there's really not much I can at this point in time.
I traveled to the Midwest last week, and it was the first time I'd been continuously on the ground that far west in this country. I've flown over before, but never been on the road in that direction much. Without going into it, I went west for a job interview. I am not a terribly superstitious person, but I don't dare talk about it much.
"Angel of Sorrow" takes over, by the late John Campbell...forboding stuff.
Anyway, I can tell you that it's flat out that way! My trip through West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois was pretty smooth, and I certainly learned a few things about traveling out there. A lot of flat lands, and it seemed to me a lot like portions of southern Quebec, sort of between the Vermont border and Montreal. Long, long fields of corn and soybeans; architecture is different there, too.
A lot of the houses seem very thin and built upwards; the barns are not much different, but silos clearly are. Just a lot of subtle but intriguing differences.
Billboards were pretty funny at times. They are a blot on the landscape as far as I'm concerned; but some of them are amusing. The typical Jesus Freak billboards for one, then of course you have the porn shop billboards, that seem to go hand in hand for that.
Strange adverts for different products, and some people obviously needed some imaging or PR help before putting them up.
Cities tend to spring up like an oasis. Then there's the radio thing; being a broadcaster, you listen to different stations to get an idea of what they're doing.
Not very impressive. The NPR outlets on the left of the dial are all about the same, with few variations in programming. I didn't listen to the music on the FM, because they're all the same.
"Stellar Regions," an alternate take, by John Coltrane...that fits.
AM radio is pretty bad. A couple of big-city "news" stations are not; they are smatterings of news hosted by an anchor who is trying to be a cross between Gary LaPierre (late of WBZ) and Howard Stern. Does not work. Vacuous blowhard crossed with shock jock; nah, need some help there, losers.
The Chicago newser, WBBM stood out as a real and still honest to Goddess news station. Think of KYW in Philly or WCBS in New York, and you know what I mean. That's how it is supposed to be done, bitches.
Now I will not discuss where I may be headed, because again it's a jinx. But I liked what I heard and saw...I will discuss more should the need arise. I hope it does.
This whole thing could shape the rest of my career, and my life. I can't help but feel excited and feel like for once I may well again be valued for what I am capable of.
"Cut it Out," the late Gary Moore. Nice change.
Everyone I met all the way out there, nice folks. Really polite, friendly people, and I was impressed by the kindness of everyone. We can get pretty nasty to one another when we see differences and then take them to the wrong kind of limit, but when it's just casual passing through, it ain't so bad, is it? Think about it.
My ride back on Saturday was interesting; listened to the horrific Cincinnati Reds radio broadcasters for part of the way back east. Who decided that former jocks make good announcers? There are very few who can actually get out of that mode and honestly do a good job, show intelligence and rational thought.
Aside of it: the best one is Lincoln Kennedy. The former Raiders lineman is on Fox Sports Radio, and I enjoy listening to him. He is a very smart, thoughtful and intelligent guy. His regular partner, Andy Furman, is not very good. Linc needs his own show.
I stopped back in Indianapolis, where I was reunited with an old and dear friend. Rene and I worked together at the old Strawberries on Wellington Circle back in the day, and we stayed in touch. She is as irrepressible as ever, and I love her for it; met her man, Erik, awesome guy and we had a long talk. Great time; and I have an in on the goings-on in that city now.
Well, I spent the night in Wheeling, West Virginia, and motored the rest of the way home Sunday. Then things got interesting.
The Silver Saturn took me 1400 miles w/o complaint. Then up the street I go to the Office...and it throws an axle.
I got it back Tuesday. Poor car; been through so much, and I've put enough $$$ into it to buy another car. But it feels alright again, so whatever. Better than more debt for a new ride. I'll worry about that later.
"Never Last," Johnny Diesel and the Injectors. This was a great one-off band from the early 90's. Good stuff.
The DJ work on Radio Airwaves is going good; still learning the quirks of the chatrooms, which we connect to, but it's all good. Made friends on a whole new network; the DJ community is small but it's a good one, and I'm having fun playing what the fuck I want.
Once again, find out all you need to know at www.radio-airwaves.co.uk
Shameless plug, heehee.
OK...while I wait for all this, I have to get back to "work." Such little I have here. I'm returning to Penn State this Saturday to cover the first Nittany Lion game and season without You Know Who.
This could be a tough game for the Lions. Ohio went 10-and-4 last season and they employ a fast passing attack. Supposedly Bill O'Brien's new defensive scheme is set to handle such things, but with a lot of key players gone, you wonder how they'll do.
And of course, the PSU community is still whining and whimpering about the terrible sanctions handed down them by that bad, evil Louis Freeh and the Powers That Be That Want Penn State Destroyed.
Some people never learn.
"Savages," Paul Weller...interesting iTunes choice.
The Paterno family is still bitching, and there's a 400 page book about JoePa that's out now. I wonder how fast that was written! I also wonder how much post-life wanking is involved in the making of that.
My job is to cover the game, but I shall endeavor to do my best to cover the vibe, the feelings, the attitudes there. This is a very new world for the PSU community: no Paterno, for the first time since 1965 as head coach. The statue is gone, and memories are all that are left.
Will people cling to them? Will they still believe that JoePa was the victim of a major screwjob, and will the conspiracies still abound about all the rest of it?
"Raspberry Jam Delta-V," Joe Satriani....to another astral plane we go.
For all the statements that Penn State is going to take its long-overdue ass-kicking and move on, I wonder if they can. I rather doubt it, because old habits die hard, no matter where you are or what context that's in.
I shall see how the students handle it, how the older folks handle it, and how the players do.
On one level I do agree that the players are suffering, and many have had to leave to pursue their football whatevers...but they are a part of the system, and they'd have to be completely devoid of reality to not know that when something evil occurs at the top of the system, that it will come down and nail you. If you are a cog in the machine, and it breaks down, you are part of it.
Then again, we exalt athletes, the same way we deify politicians, celebrities and the wealthy and powerful. We made gods out of them, and then we find out they're human. Like Paterno; the faith is shaken, but do we ever learn?
We'll find out.
Change is the theme of all of this today; I face potential changes, big-time changes. People around me face changes every day, but do we embrace them or do we move with them and embrace them?
I for one am ready to do that, because I need to. If not out west, someplace else; change has to come and I have to change with it. Not everything about me, but enough of it.
Then comes that other change; death and passing on. I've lost a number of friends in recent years, many before their time you would think.
"Beginnings," Jimi Hendrix...hmm, that's appropriate in a way.
Yesterday, I learned one of my former XM Radio colleagues, Janice Brown passed away.
It's sad, because how can you not know someone when you spend a good five years around them? Janice was one of those characters that you find in every job, and especially in every radio station. A small lady with big eyes, a bigger smile and a wicked sense of humor. Also a great sense of self.
Janice was a long-time jazz DJ at WPFW Radio in DC, before she came to XM to inject her style to traffic reporting. She did standup comedy I believe, and was a singer of great ability. Janice released a CD, but I've not been able to find it. I wish to, for I would like to play it on Radio Airwaves and let at least a big of the universe know who she was.
I miss her, and this is hard to write; I had a lot of friends from XM, and I still do. I don't know what happened to Janice, but the intimation of health issues best be left there. She had a great love of life, and didn't have to tell anyone about it; she had it.
I have a photo...
This is a bunch of the rapscallion crew I worked with at XM, on our last official day...Janice is the lady on the right in the orange scarf.
A total sweetheart. Rest in Peace, Janice, you deserve it. We won't forget you.
Time to move on, I guess...we all do, and I'm sure we'll hear Janice singing in the next world with legends to back her. Monk, Coltrane, Mingus, Tony Williams? Yeah, that would do.
See you next time, when hopefully I know more of my future, and where it all leads.