Every August, my wife goes to Pennsylvania to spend a week at family camp with her brother and sister and their families. It would be fun to hang with the nephews and nieces for a whole week, and I would be happy to do it--in a hotel someplace, with cable, and air conditioning, and a bar downstairs. I do not camp. I have tried it, I do not like it, and I have no intention of doing it ever again.
If my wife were here right now, she would chime in that they are not really "camping." They are sleeping in dorms, not tents, and they're eating in a cafeteria, not cooking over open fires. And I would respond that because they're sharing bathrooms and showers with other campers and there's neither cell-phone coverage nor Wi-Fi access up there in the mountains, the fact that there are no tents or cooking fires is merely a subsidiary problem.
So this week, I am Home Alone. What this means, mainly, is that I cook things she won't eat and rent movies she won't like. What's different about this year is that I have no cat at home to keep me company. Sophie passed a couple of months ago at age 20, and we are presently catless. Once my wife gets back to civilization, we will start the process of finding a new cat for our home. Unless she brings me back a souvenir raccoon.
For years, I have joked that the only time a radio DJ can be absolutely sure people are hanging on his or her every word is when severe weather strikes. But severe weather is no joke to all of us at Magic. When severe thunderstorms or tornadoes threaten, we take it seriously, monitoring the National Weather Service and getting updates from the News 3 Weather Center.
When a tornado warning is issued, it means the bad weather is out there and you should go to a safe place, like your basement, until it passes. Even radio and TV people are supposed to do this, but in the heat of the moment, some of us have been known to forget it. Years ago, I was working a new job in Clinton, Iowa, at a little station in a prefab house on a hill outside of town, and I wasn't too clear on the geography of the area yet. One evening a tornado warning came in, and it said that there was a tornado on the ground seven miles southwest of Miles, Iowa. I wasn't sure where that was, exactly, so I asked my on-air partner, who had grown up in the area.
She got a funny look on her face and said, "That's . . . here," and she promptly headed to the basement. I did precisely the opposite---because I had never seen a real live tornado before, I ran outside to look for the stupid thing. As it turned out, I couldn't see it. We figured that it probably went back up into the cloud it had come out of. Lucky for me. If it had been on the ground, I might have gotten blasted by a flying pig or something. This was Iowa, after all.
We recently upgraded the video capability at our house so we can stream directly from the Internet in addition to watching satellite TV and DVDs. If you are considering this upgrade for yourself, I cannot discourage you strongly enough. It's a terrible idea. Don't do it. In the name of all that's holy.
Netflix Streaming doesn't have everything you can get on DVD from Netflix, but what it does have is more than enough to keep you from doing anything productive for the rest of your life. I have been watching the original "Hawaii Five-O" pretty much professionally for the last couple of weeks--with a total of 279 episodes available, it'll be months before the laundry gets done again.
The great thing about streaming, as opposed to getting DVDs by mail, is that if you put something in your queue, watch a little of it and decide you're not interested, you don't have to mail back the disc and wait for the next one to come. You just go on to the next thing in your queue, and before you know it you're back in an uninterrupted (and uninterruptible) video coma.
There are other some great things about having streaming video capability on your TV, but I haven't got time to tell you about them now. Steve McGarrett's got a lot of crime to fight in Hawaii, and I'm not watching him do it, he'll never get done.
Welcome to my first blog entry for Magic 98. I have been writing blogs in one form or another since 2003, which is about a million years in Internet time, so I can promise some high-quality time-wasting in this space, along with reasonably good spelling, punctuation, and grammar. I thought it would be a good idea to use this first post to introduce, or re-introduce, myself to you.
--I grew up on a dairy farm near Monroe, and I started in radio back when music came on 45s.
--I joined Mid-West Family Broadcasting in 2006, and started on Magic in 2008.
--When I'm not on the air, I'm a freelance writer.
--My wife (Ann) and I have season tickets for Badger football, men's hockey, and women's hockey, which is a lot for a two people who graduated from UW-Platteville.
--My interests include American history and craft beer. Look for me in various Madison bars asking, "What have you got on tap that's really dark?"
--I have eight nephews, three nieces, and 20,000 songs on my laptop.
I also have no idea what I'm going to write about next week, but I didn't know when I sat down to write this, either, so I'm sure it'll be something.