Archive for December, 2010

Five Songs, Part 11

December 30, 2010

Time to put this year in a box and cast it overboard and get it the hell out of my life. But first, a little shipping music. And not one “Auld Lang Syne” in the newest bunch of Five Songs. Go have fun. And may all of you have a much, much better ’11:

Loose Ends — Bruce Springsteen

Up in the Dark — The New Pornographers

Tell Me Why — The Beatles

Song 2 — Blur

A Celebration — U2

WPKN playlist 12/28/10: Post-blizzard, something-out-of-Nothing fill-in Franorama

December 30, 2010

What a difference a day (and a half) makes.

Mid-Sunday afternoon into the evening, the wind made the snow come down horizontally, and the accumulations made driving home from my midday fill-in at WPKN (89.5 FM, wpkn.org) an absolute bitch from the other side of Hell.

Tuesday morning (Dec. 28), as I headed off to the station once again, the side streets were still varying degrees of sketchy (paradise compared to New York), but the snow was still on the crunchy side, the winds had left at last, and the temperature felt balmy compared to the previous two days.

And it was a good day and a good show. I filled in for Rod Richardson, who called me the day before and asked if I could do his Radio Nothing slot.  Making something out of nothing, if you will …

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WPKN playlist 12/26/10: Post-Christmas hangover, pre-blizzard Franorama fill-in

December 29, 2010

Hi. People who live in California — subjected to droughts and forest fires in the summer, then torrential rains in the winter, and ensuing mudslides of hills denuded of vegetation by the aforementioned forest fires — know that weather is God’s way of pulling a joke on those of us who try to control nature or schedule things too tightly.

A long-winded way of saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”

Case in point: Dave Golden asked me a couple times to fill in for him Sunday (Dec. 26) on his 10 a.m.-2 p.m. shift on WPKN (89.5 FM, www.wpkn.org). I put him off for a few days. I had heard there was snow in the forecast, so I wanted to make sure it wasn’t coming. For one, my rental car is as economy as Enterprise economy cars get — a little Hyundai accent, slightly bigger than a Smartcar — and I had pictures of it sliding on the road the snow like Brian Boitano doing a routine. For another, when I filled in last holiday season, I had to drive in the shit three times.

Anyway, in the two weeks I’ve been back in Connecticut, the Channel 8 Weather Clowns, who are often wrong, have been wrong about snow three times already. We had both heard there would be snow the day after Christmas, but it would start in the evening and carry over into today. So Thursday I called him back and said yes, I’d do it. There would be a Post-Christmas Hangover fill-in edition of “Franorama.”

And somewhere, God, sounding a lot like Bart Simpson, said “HAA-haaa!” The Weather Clowns weren’t kidding about the blizzard.

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Five songs, Part 10

December 23, 2010

Hi. Five Songs goes up a day early this week and brings you one last-go-round with the Christmas tunes. Happy listening and a happy holiday:

Jesus Christ — Alex Chilton/Big Star

Christmas Wish — NRBQ

Merry Christmas Baby — The Poets

Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas — Carla Thomas

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) — Darlene Love

Dear Santa …

December 22, 2010

Hi Santa. I know you’ve been busy, and you have a kazillion letters to deal with already from every good boy and girl in the world. I hope you have room for one more letter.

I’m not asking for anything you have to stuff in your overstuffed sleigh.

Can you please send me a job? A good one?

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WPKN Playlist — 12/21/10: Happy Christmas, Happy Solstice

December 22, 2010

So I guess it’s all uphill from here.

Yesterday afternoon, I did my first fill-in of this visit home on my beloved WPKN (89.5 FM, wpkn.org) from 3-6 p.m. EST — meaning it was the last show of the fall, as the winter solstice officially began at 6:38. (And thanks to Val and Rod Richardson …)

So I only got to do one Christmas fill-in this year, but sometimes you appreciate these things more when you do them less. Case in point: For the second straight year, thanks to unemployment, I didn’t have a place to pitch my Christmas trees and put up ornaments. But I did get to hang the one decoration that really counts: My folks left my favorite ornament from childhood — a beach ball-type globe, with mirrored strips of red, yellow and blue alternating with flocked white — to hang when I got home last week.

It was fun to be back behind the board. It was the first time I incorporated my laptop into the mix, something I’ll do more in the future. And it’s always great to play tunes and see who pops up on the phone.

But I’m still in a weird inbetweenie phase as far as my gender transition. I tried out the newish voice on the air, but it sounded inconsistent. And I chickened out on coming out over the air because I just didn’t feel ready yet — I’m not sure whether to go that far unless I’m coming back here for good.

But I’ll have more chances. I fill in for Peter Bochan on Thursday, Dec. 30, noon-3 EST (9 a.m.-noon PST), and a couple of other staffers have asked as well. We’ll see where life leads me.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s what you missed (or not):

Love those fortune cookies, Part 8

December 20, 2010

Well, it doesn’t matter what side of the country I’m eating on — Chinese fortune cookie fortunes are vague, yet singularly profound, in either place.

Friday night, I went to my favorite Chinese restaurant — House of Chao, or House of Chaos as I sometimes call it, in the Westville section of New Haven — with my old Westville neighbor and rock’n’roll pal, Chip Damiani. (Chip was the drummer for legendary ’60s Boston rockers The Remains, who shoulda been the American Beatles. And the week before, the band was honored by younger generations with a Hall of Fame award at the Boston Music Awards.)

It’s not just me, because Chip also drew a fortune that spoke to his life. But here’s what I opened:

“Patience is the key to joy.”

All those years my mom would tell me growing up, “Patience is a virtue of which you have none.” Well, the last couple of years, I’ve had no choice but to be patient, and now I sense — well, at least I hope I do — some of that joy bubbling beneath the surface. Guess I have to be patient just a little longer …

Winter Wonerland

December 19, 2010

Just a little bit more light entertainment for you to enjoy this Christmas week. Especially if you haven’t bought your tree yet.

It’s right up there in my nominations for Best. Commercial. Ever. — Winter Wonerland, in the northeast corner of the Ikea parking lot in Paramus, N.J. You’ll never look at Nativity scenes the came way again. Enjoy.

First flight

December 19, 2010

Oakland International Airport, where I departed for my flrst flight as my better half.

Well, I landed in Connecticut Tuesday night (Dec. 14) for the holidays. No big deal; people fly all the time, and most eventually land in one piece, safe and sound. As did this one. My brother Ken picked me up at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks (just north of Hartford, for non-Connecticutians) and dropped me off at my parents’ house.

Big deal here.

My first flight as Fran. As my better half.

But in the end, again, no big deal. Thank God. One more huge hurdle overcome, and that was before I climbed to 39,000 feet.

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Five Songs, Part 9

December 16, 2010

Hi. This week’s Five Songs comes to you from my favorite coffee shop in New Haven, Ct. — the Willoughby’s on Church and Grove streets. And it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas — it’s a combo of the 20-degree weather (thankfully without wind today), sitting in the living room with my folks and the Christmas tree the past couple of days, the holiday music piping above the piping-hot coffee, and putting my favorite childhood ornament on the tree.

So here goes — more music to try to get festive by. Enjoy:

She’s Coming Home — The Wailers

Christmas on Riverside Drive — August Darnell (aka Kid Creole)

Shake Hands With Santa Claus — Louis Prima

Sleigh Bell Rock — Three Aces and a Joker

Frosty the Snowman — The Ronettes