Merry-Go-Round Radio

What radio station I listen to is largely determined by what will come in with the least amount of static for the building I’m in. The next factor is a tolerance issue: of the few stations to pick from, are any of them ones I actually like, or is it a matter of the “lesser evil”? Worked into that is whether or not I’m sick to death of the music they play – over and over, in constant and unending rotation.

Merry-Go-Round radio refers to the format of having X number of very particular songs on an eternal loop and the songs almost never vary. Ever. Imagine listening to the same CD everyday for the rest of your life – that’s today’s standard radio format.

Therefore, to have variety, one must switch stations often. I would do this, but generally only a few will come in at a given time, and most of those are Tejano and Country. I can listen to Country for a bit, but it has a limited shelf life due to all the heartache songs getting on my nerves.

The rock station I wanted (the one with no dreaded “morning show”) won’t come in at all. The oldies station that just added an idiotic morning show won’t come in now, all of a sudden. For one brief, shining week I had the 80s station coming in clearly, but then cruel fate took it away again. Now, I’m stuck with “Sunny” (light pop hits) a station that is afraid to play anything harder than Aerosmith, but they only play the ballads. So far, the best part about Sunny is that I’m not subjected to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

So, instead of reinventing radio, such as introducing satellite stations you have to pay through the nose to get, why don’t “they” change up the songs on the loops on a monthly basis (if not weekly)? Or, invent a device that makes an average radio in a concrete bunker actually receive all of the stations? (Then I could surf musical genres for variety, at least).

In conclusion, a ray of hope: “they” are rumored to be inventing a way to get web radio shows available on regular radio devices, and on your car radio. That would be fabulous, as the internet is where all the good stuff ends up, anyway. Naturally, the FCC is going nuts over this. Here’s what I really want: a metal station that ranges from glam to thrash, where you can hear Slayer uncensored, and where they aren’t afraid to play stuff from Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” album. Ah, bliss….

Songs that Annoy Me: "She's Always A Woman" by Billy Joel.

Presented before the court, the lyrics:

She can kill with a smile
She can wound with her eyes
She can ruin your faith with her casual lies
And she only reveals what she wants you to see
She hides like a child
But she’s always a woman to me

She can lead you to live
She can take you or leave you
She can ask for the truth
But she’ll never believe you
And she’ll take what you give her as long as it’s free
She steals like a thief
But she’s always a woman to me

Oh, she takes care of herself
She can wait if she wants
She’s ahead of her time
Oh, and she never gives out
And she never gives in
She just changes her mind

She will promise you more
Than the Garden of Eden
Then she’ll carelessly cut you
And laugh while you’re bleedin’
But she’ll bring out the best
And the worst you can be
Blame it all on yourself
Cause she’s always a woman to me

She is frequently kind
And she’s suddenly cruel
She can do as she pleases
She’s nobody’s fool
But she can’t be convicted
She’s earned her degree
And the most she will do
Is throw shadows at you
But she’s always a woman to me

Okay…it’s a good thing Billy wrote in there “She can’t be convicted”, because I personally feel she should be. As a woman myself, I hope this wasn’t the best example of womanhood Mr. Joel ever knew. Whoever he was writing about, he seems to be waxing nostalgic where he ought to be running in terror. Doesn’t this “woman” sound like a sociopathic spoiled brat? And why, in the face of all the lyrical damning evidence is she “always a woman” to him?

Weird, Mr. Joel, just weird. On the plus side, I like the melody line and the music – it’s the sort of tune that makes you want start swaying to it; at least until the potential psycho hose beast lyrics remind you that you’d do better to look around you and make sure this “woman” isn’t creeping up behind you with an axe.

Spooky Empire Convention: A Smashing Success!

I’ve had a few weekends to recouperate (not that I’ve slowed down much since) but I am happy to report that the Spooky Empire Convention went stunningly well. I manned three panel discussions, with my book agent and friend Gary Roen being the official moderator for the first two, and yours truly taking the reins for the last panel on Sunday. We had very good audience turn out for all of the panels, and I always love seeing more people who are interested in writing.

The Zombie Walk went well on Friday, and while I never heard an official count, it looked to me like fewer zombies than last year, but the quality was better, including the “in character” shuffle back to the hotel from TGI Fridays.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to get to everything that went on, and I missed the undoubtedly excellent Hellraiser panel, due to them being too close to one of my own. I did catch most of the Phantasm panel with Angus Scrimm and Michael Baldwin, and it was a lot of fun. Mr. Scrimm was a hoot! They were both gracious enough later to grant me interviews, as well.

Two groups I had not heard of before and now can recommend heartily are the Ghouligans (video surfer-monsters humor) and the southern rock band with a twist known as Ghoultown. Ghoultown are from Texas, too, which amused me. I think I was the only person from Texas on their mailing list.

The dealer’s room was jumping and full of awesome goodies, many of which I dragged home with me, and the convention as a whole was primely put together. Hats off to Pete M. and his staff for a job well done!

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how wonderful all of the guests were. I’m already devoted to the Cenobites and the lovely Ashley Laurence, and it was an honor to finally meet Angus Scrimm, Malcolm McDowell, Elvira, Michael Berryman, and all of the others, too.

The VIP party on Saturday night was a lot of fun, as it was last year. I met some great folks, and got to see my friends from last year, as well. Hanging out with friends, snapping some photos, and listening to some entertaining karoke numbers for a bit, made for a splendid evening.

I didn’t get to see Voltaire’s concert (I’m not sure it happened at all) but I did catch Ghoultown’s show, even though they got delayed at first from the time they were scheduled to start. The concerts seemed to be the only part with a little bit of trouble, especially in the arc lighting during the band ahead of Ghoultown. Someone kept sending the arc lighting right into the eyes of the crowd, and the sound wasn’t as clear all the way through as it could have been. Ghoultown and especially their trumpet player more than made up for it, though. I promply bought three of their CDs the next morning.

Overall, this is still my favorite convention, and the best horror convention I’ve been to yet. High marks!

Dogs D'Amour – Collection Complete!

I have been a Dogs D’Amour fan for over twenty years, and now, thanks to the beauty of internet shopping around the world, I have finally completed my collection on CDs. This does not mean that I now own everything that Tyla ever set his hand or head to – it means I have what I love most: the music I missed (on cassette tapes that squeak from over-use or won’t play at all. The crown jewel in this collection is the single to “Empty World”, track 4: “Heading for the Target of Insanity”. This is the one I thought I’d never get on CD, the one I missed the most. Oddly enough, it’s not even a tune, it’s a first rate “Tyla Babble”. I love hearing him talk, in that disjointed poetic manner, with a jumble of words that are either nonsense or genius, or both at once. Half the time, I have no clue what he’s talking about, but it never matters. I consider it poetry, and poetry doesn’t necessarily have to make sense – it just has to resonate within.