Saturday, March 28, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: Don't Dream It's Over

Don't Dream It's Over most likely belongs to everyone's misspent youth, most likely they have their own reasons for either listening or running like hell out of the chip aisle when it pops on.

It's the second week I'm going back to 1987, and I suppose it's because 1987 was the beginning of the misspent time. The end of March, that year and so many other years, brought mortality flapping around my head with great noisy wings that wouldn't be quiet, even when I was assured everything would be fine, or even when I knew there was nothing at all I could do but pipe music directly into my head.

This song is about life, man. Like, ALL of life.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Why My E-Mail Is Jealous.

After a lifetime of blathering on uncontrollably dwindled to barely managing to "win" two 50,000-words-in-a-month challenges, I took to writing drabbles.

100 words, an entire story, beginning to end. It’s what makes me happiest right now.

I’d been a fan of 100 Word Stories for a while, and one day, I cracked. All that was stopping me from taking part in the challenges was me. Now I’m working on the fifth story to appear alongside stories I love by writers who inspired me to keep my ideas concise better than every critic I’ve ever heard from.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Now He Can Travel Wherever He Likes

My Poppy's older brother Joe passed away last week. He liked being recognized as the oldest, and at 94 he had every right to brag. He was the last of John and Tessie's boys, and it's too much to think that now all the stories of the boys when they were young will be second-hand. The stories are legendary, but told by actual Naclerio brothers, they were fascinating, hilarious, and always more interesting than anything I could ever tell.

Grandma Tessie and her boys - Uncle Artie, Uncle Gene, Grandma Tessie, Uncle John, My Poppy, and Uncle Joe

(Tessie and her boys - Uncle Artie, Uncle Gene, Grandma Tessie, Uncle John, my Poppy, and Uncle Joe)

Uncle Joe and I had a lot in common. We were both into photography, gardening, cats...he even enjoyed tinkering with my Lego train set, but we also got our computers around the same time and I think I learned more about Windows because of Uncle Joe calling me up and asking me what everything was for than I would have on my own.

Uncle Joe loved to drive so much that his car Bessie pretty much knew the way home all by herself, which was good as I used to fall asleep halfway through each three-hour drive to and from his house. The day he drove to the Bronx, picked us up and drove us to Moriches so I could figure out why his computer was speaking German, then drove us home and then turned around and drove himself home should have gotten him a medal.

Over the summer of 1993 I seemed to spend more time on Long Island than anywhere else, taking pictures of all the places I followed Uncle Joe and Nan and Mum, and it was during those long trips to sunny places that I learned my limitations. Crashing and burning, I think it's called. Uncle Joe didn't seem to mind as long as I assured him I wasn't mad in my cheeriest slurring, but sometimes I wonder what he really thought when he showed me a hat with a lobster through it and said, "Isn't this your sign?"

I said, "Yeah!" because I had heatstroke.

Of course I still have the hat. I guess hats were our thing. I first met Uncle Joe at my uncle Johnny's wedding in 1983 but it wasn't until my Poppy's funeral that he started greeting me with, "Where's the hat?" every time he saw me. He used to wear hats too, and my cat used to greet Uncle Joe by pushing his cap off his head. Being the cat lover he was, Uncle Joe was impressed by m'man, and what he wrote to me when he heard m'man had gone ahead to the great catnip pastures beyond is something I'll cherish until the day I join them.

This past week I've been playing the Windows solitaire games Uncle Joe used to love to play when we first got our computers. He showed me how to play them, and I haven't won a single game but it's been nice to remember the good times.

Those boys, in that picture up there, they did good. They left their sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, grandkids, great-grandkids and every generation after with some great stories. I'll never forget them, and you can be sure I won't let anyone go without telling a little bit about them.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tweets Of The Week.

Twitter! What the hell is it, why do I favor it over all other forms of communication right now, and why am I now going to great lengths to paste selected weekly Twitterering here? I DON'T KNOW!

Because I want to tie you down and force you to read my words.

Nah, not really.



  • 00:17 For the record, Excedrin tastes terrible when washed down with cranberry juice. I know, I know, I was warned.... Don't drink juice, kids! #
  • 16:12 What's got Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman AND Tom Waits and makes me happy all over my silly mind? The Book of Eli: :D #
  • 18:04 It's one of those days when I might start talking and never stop. Hope everyone has a good weekend, here's music! :D #
  • 18:10 PANCAKES--it's what's for dinner! I know, I know, food? Me? PANCAKES. #

  • 18:50 Oh, PaintShopPro, you don't know how you hurt me when you crash like that. #
  • 21:30 HMM. I have twice posted about what I was listening to, watching, and doing. Seemed to post, but mysteriously vanished by the next visit. #
  • 21:32 An earlier post about how great the Warren Zevon song Mr. Bad Example is also un-posted itself. WHAT BUGS ARE THESE? #


  • 18:14 What a weird day. Lovely weather but very little good news--all things I can't fix. So I raked last year's leaves. Birds keep tweeting. #

  • 17:54 The weather was nicer but the news sadder. Strange how that works. I knew a gardener who's probably happy to be out & about this Wednesday. #
  • 19:37 This one goes out to anyone who ever cranked up Yanni as they took roadtrips, like my Uncle Joe. ♥ ♫ #
  • 19:57 Lovely woman, lovely family, terrible news. -_- #

  • 16:31 Uploading vlog #7. I said the next would be in six weeks, I don't disappoint! Especially when it's something involving furry creatures. ^_^ #
  • 19:15 is listening to WFUV play the new Madeline Peyroux album, Bare Bones. Good stuff! #
  • 21:44 The onlookers cheering James Bond on as he climbs down the firetruck ladder in A View To A Kill just entertained the bejeebers out of me. #

  • 19:50 So nice of U2 to write songs that sum up my mood perfectly. ^_^ ♫ #


  • 20:01 There was this show called Battlestar Galactica, it was really good. (I think I feel good about it, srsly.) #

Shipped manually by LyndaN and LoudTwitter

I...probably won't do these Twitter dumps a lot. Follow me on Twitter, it's easier.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: White Rabbit

Yeah, yeah, I know, this song is old enough to be my mother. But my mother only heard the song after I went all crazy over Grace Slick and brought home Surrealistic Pillow.

White Rabbit is not entirely about Alice In Wonderland. I knew this in 1987, because I knew way too much for my own good, and as a result of all the things in my head I didn't think I ought to know from reading the encyclopedias, I spent a lot of time listening to music with my headphones. Except this song, it became the song I let my mum hear. I figured she might know it, having been listening to music a hell of a lot longer than listening to me being weird. She loved it. The song, I mean. Although she did let me live through 1987, so I guess she doesn't mind my weirdness quite so much either.

And yes, she did used to offer me Tylenol and I would say it didn't help. Every time I pick out one of these songs I wonder if calling it a song of my misspent youth makes sense, and this one, this song I listened to so much in 1987, even with headaches, even when moping, even when watching Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, it makes perfect sense to me.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Vlog 7: Spring!

I realize Spring doesn't officially start for another 12 hours, but when I realized it had been six weeks since the last vlog and all I had to talk about were incredibly sad things I didn't think would fit into a HEY IT'S SPRING! vlog, vlog 7 became a chronicle of what I love to do. Not much talk. Just buzzing around the backyard.

With that, I'm turning the vlogs into a seasonal thing. Because there are way better vlogs out there to watch. Like Imogen Heap's notes on her new studio and album, for instance.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How To Drive A Girl Like Me Crazy

My station altered my programming.

I think it's been 13 years since Echoesmoved to the midnight timeslot on WFUV. 13 years is a long time. 15 years is even longer, that's how long I've been listening to Echoes. Never mind that it used to come on at 7AM on Saturdays. I was up, it gave me something good to listen to while I was writing batch files, and occasionally I'd actually sleep after listening to it. Of course turning the radio off would have helped, too, because the Hindi news and music program that would follow Echoes on Sunday morning was guaranteed to wake me back up again by the first number.

Echoes slowly crept closer to midnight, first This American Life and other spoken word shows used to come in between it and the early broadcast of the World Café, then there was no separation, and Echoes could actually be heard from midnight until World Café came on again at 3AM.

Other WFUV listeners are probably going either, "We know where you're going with this," or "WTF is your point already?"

There's an HD2 station coming out of Fordham since last year, it can be heard online at The Alternate Side and as a treat 90.7 used to let it take over on Fridays. Last Friday they announced the show was taking over the 10PM-midnight timeslot World Café used to occupy. I wasn't too torn up about that because WFUV plays a lot of the same music all the time anyway. But World Café has now moved down to midnight.

Echoes now comes on at 2AM.

Yes, of course I can still hear it, that's not the point.

How am I supposed to know when it's midnight now?

I mean, other than the CBS-FM station ID with Frank Sinatra singing New York, New York and Orion disappearing behind the neighbor's house?


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: Reel Around The Sun from Riverdance

This week, like all weeks with March 17 in them, has St. Patrick's Day in it. I get the Irish pride thing, but even more than that--because if I go any further my Irish parts will be sobbing apologies to my Italian parts and the pagan bits of my brain will just be glaring at the whole spectacle and I've past the age where I need to get in the crossfire of that whole mess--even more than being Irish in any way...there was this whole time where Celtic music was everywhere and I frikkin' loved it.

No, actually, what happened was I heard Reel Around The Sun the first time and my brain managed one last, "What. Is. That."

Then it was twelve years later, I was wondering what Bill Whelan's composed lately and wondering where Michael Flatley will turn up next.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

I'm So Average It Hurts...Less and Less Each Year.

There's this dig about people who watch American Idol, that they're oblivious to current world events. It's not true. Still, it keeps me from talking about what I watch because I figure the least amount of judgment I bring on myself the better, especially considering the child I used to be would at the very least think it's pretty freaky that I know who's won every season of the three "competitive reality" shows we keep up with.

Sure, as a kid I used to run screaming a few feet away from the TV when Star Search would come on, but it should have been a sign of things to come when I'd linger near the doorway to check out the crazier singers. I could blame my Mum or my Poppy, as Mum got my Poppy hooked and then he used to call me in to see some of the better singers, but no, see, he had taste. He picked Linda Eder, while I was all fascinated by The Kingpins, a band whose drummer jumped all over the drumkit like balancing on the highhat produced an acceptable sound.

Now I'm the one making plans to have something to do near the TV when American Idol and Dancing With The Stars is on. It's how my comic strip gets put together, even some of these posts are written during the commercial breaks between awkward performances. I guess Mum started it, although she tells me I'm the one who was all gung ho to sit through two hours of Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard alternately singing to and acting like they were going to beat the snot out of each other for no reason other than to take up two hours of my life. I don't know. I just don't remember anymore.

This week Dancing With The Stars came back, and so far I like David Alan Grier, but I'm never as rabid over the people on there because they all grow on me eventually. American Idol, though, this year the show is full of guys I want to hear sing more stuff, and my inner 12-year-old CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHY. Maybe they're good, but there are times I swear there's some hypnotic light pattern going on to lull me into a stupor. For all my lousy memory, I can name the top thirteen contestants and already have favorites. Trickery must be employed. I can't remember my own name half the time, how have these people become part of my vocabulary already?!

I have a theory, of course, about why these shows are so popular. Other than there being little else to sit down to watch with your family after a long day. Because it's like people want to feel like they can control who gets kicked out for doing a crap job. How beautiful would it be to have Citibank Apprentice? Better yet, stash Gordon Ramsey aboard an overpriced personal jet full of CEOs on their way to a retreat and let him rip once they've reach cruising altitude. I predict a hit.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fun From Yesterday Can Be Fun Right Now!

Perhaps it's fitting that I came in late to this wonder known as Fun from yesterday! on, but I can't believe I lived so long not knowing these special scans of classic Atari games were online.

Fun from yesterday at

I totally played Buzz Aldrin Space Rainbow Tennis all the time as a kid.


Saturday, March 07, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: Plush

I realize in retrospect my musical tastes were in no way unique, but WDRE/WLIR, it brought me good music before most of my friends--who couldn't be bothered to position their radio in just the right spot to bring in the station--ever mentioned it. I was terrible about knowing the titles to songs, though, so I went nearly a month not knowing the song was what someone had asked me if I'd heard. I think. He said something along the lines of, "Haveyouheardplushbystonetemplepilots?" and I had no idea, just like I had no idea that Stone Temple Pilots wasn't Pearl Jam.

And so, 16 years down the line, saying I heard that Stone Temple Pilots song Plush before even I knew what it was seems...puny. But it figured heavily into my 1993, playing a lot on those long nights...and days...and I'm during an eclipse or something. There were running jokes, like when DRE After Dark had "Ricardo Montalban" introduce the song, pointing out how plush the Corinthian leather seats were, and I only mention this because to this day I still hear the title in my head as, 'sPlush! and it was hard to write it any other way in the post and that just outs me as world-class crazy, doesn't it?

Plush was on late one night as I hoped my dog didn't have cancer, and it was playing when I learned he didn't. True, the song is probably about a dead girl, but in May of 1993 it was the greatest song ever.

There are other memories and stories the song, as well as the band, collected in my mind since 1993, but they're even more obscure and difficult to explain. Just like the '90s.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Just For Spies: ELIMINATE Gray

Just For SpiesThe other night we're watching Body Of Lies--I thought it was good, btw--and there's a scene where Leonardo DiCaprio's character changes his hair color, and then changes it back.

We started getting silly, and wondering how he changed it back so quickly and the people around him didn't smell dye, etc, and I said....

"He used Just For Spies."


Ah, I entertain myself.

(pictured: Jackal Brown. Also look for Bourne Blonde, wherever spy supplies are sold.)


Monday, March 02, 2009

Take The Tater Train To Terror Town

Have you ever been doing something and suddenly a freaky voice comes across the TV or radio saying that a test of the Emergency Broadcast System is about to take place and even though they assure you that it's only a test, the sound they play strikes primordial fear into your very soul?

I have.

One of those uncontrollable unexplained phenomena of my existence involved me being so terrified of ordinary Emergency Broadcast Test announcements I would drop my Lego and scurry into the kitchen, to the relative safety of seeing where my mother was. Eventually she caught on, something about me running out of the room every single time a special report would break into a show must have given it away, and to this day we laugh heartily over, "This is a test," or "This is a special report," being followed by the sound of my feet in the hallway.

It still scares the living crap out of me.

While I get that special reports back in the '80s usually meant bad things had happened, I won't even try to deny that I still have random unwarranted fears, usually when I'm tired, usually when I'm confronted with something I don't recognize, and usually I end up laughing so hard at it that I eventually end up blogging about the things my mind does to me so you can all have a good laugh.

The most recent incident of "The Fear" was triggered by an NPR show called, fittingly, Hearing Voices.

Clicking on the link will take you to the very show, and the offending segment begins around the second minute. Listening to it now, it's clever, this interaction with Julie, the Amtrak God. Only the night--or rather, morning--it played on WFUV I had just had a nice day complete with a visit from family who traveled by Amtrak. It was, needless to say, much much later. Early, people who sleep call it.

I had just finished washing my face when I first noticed the disembodied female voice saying, "I don't know."

She didn't exactly sound anything at all like anyone in my family, but suddenly here was this woman making travel plans in my head where once there was music coming out of my headphone radio. The other disembodied voice was guessing what the woman meant by, "I don't know," and their exchange went on until the voice said something terrifying.

"I think you asked for November 10th."

Now, when automated disembodied voices mention dates that naturally freak me out and no one else in the house is awake, bad things start happening. The afterimage of the bathroom light drifts through darkened rooms trying to get me, the eyes of my Mr. Potato Head Darth Vader start following me everywhere I go, and I...scurry into the room where my mother was sleeping until I bounced off the wall to just stand there like an idiot, the pulse in my ears somewhere around 500 and my arms doing their own involuntary dance that would put the Hand Jive to shame. Flailing, I think it's called.

At this point changing the radio station to some innocuous disco was completely out of the question, not that it had occurred to me. Sunday morning radio is populated by freaky talking people but rarely is anything so mentally jarring as a chick who keeps saying, "I don't know," and having a computer guess what she wants.

Some hours later, after I'd blacked out for a while and got up to do Sunday-like things, I came out of the bathroom to find...standing in the doorway of my room...staring right at me...Darth Tater.

The part of my Darth Tater is played by the Darth Tater of Jake Faulkner

Reason #97 my Mum rules: the same twisted sense of humor.