Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sleepy in the Morning and Along Comes James...

I think I'm still half-asleep this morning. I slept a little too well last night, to the point where my alarm clock woke me up rather abruptly and I felt robbed of my comfortable slumbering bliss. I've been trying to wake up since I got out of bed. I took a different route to work to try to wake my mind up. That's the beauty of all the students being gone; I can drive through the middle of the campus without fear of accidentally hitting one of them. It's not easy to avoid sometimes. They dart in front of your car in the oddest places, thinking that they have enough time to get across the street. Of course, when I'm less than ten feet away when they start to cross, it's always a little scary.

However, this morning, I didn't even come close to hitting one. I was able to amble along my way, my Green Day blaring and taking in the fact that it is a beautiful, clean, crisp Spring morning. The sky is cornflower blue, the clouds little far-off white puffs, the green is the deep green of newness. It's a lovely day.

I'm still not awake however. I'm obviously awake enough to observe just not...to think. For example, our new HR manager was being very nice and making the office coffee this morning. Lately, that's my job. I don't mind but it's nice to have a break. She said she didn't think she could make it as good as my coffee and I responded, "I doubt it." Now, I actually didn't mean to say that because it wasn't at all what I meant to say, even in my subconscious. What I meant to say was "I doubt you could do worse," because, frankly, nothing can make the office coffee taste great. I'm not even sure why. We use a good brand. It just occasionally ends up tasting like dishwater and I'm not sure what causes that. So, I accidentally managed to sound horribly arrogant AND insult our poor HR manager. Needless to say, I had to backpeddle and explain about my non-working brain.

I think my lack of alertness in the mornings can be actually tied to the radio. I know that sounds a little...odd but I believe it to be true. When I lived in Los Angeles, I used to listen to KROQ which is my favourite radio of all time. Not only did they play my kind of music, they also have good DJ's. I loved Kevin and Bean, their sardonic, bitter and hilarious morning show made my commute to work so much more enjoyable. I'd listen to them while getting ready in the mornings, letting their snarky comments slowly wake me up because they made me think. Granted, they didn't always make me think in the most politically correct way but they'd often raise questions that would make me have to stop and pause to see how I'd answer.

I miss that. I have found a radio station here that plays pretty good music. It took me a while of listening to 96 Rock out of Cincinnati and wanting to brain the ignorant, misogynistic morning hosts Gamble and Finn every time they spoke before I was desperate enough to spend some time with my radio, trying to find something, anything better. Well, I found it...sort of. The station is WHSS, 98.5. It's a local channel actually out of a high school. They play good music, not too much new stuff but enough of the real rock/alternative stuff I used to get in L.A. to make me happy. The downside is that...it's a high school-run show. This means they haven't quite...got it together the way a commercial station does. They don't have any commercials which is a huge bonus. They don't have many DJ's. Mostly it's just music which is fine by me.

It's their morning "show" that simutaneously amuses me and...frustrates me. I say "show" because it's really just a news report. It's given by a nice boy named "James Ryan, the Sports Guy." It's supposed to start at 7 a.m. Sometimes it's on a 7 a.m. Mostly, it's not. There are days where there is no James Ryan at all and thus I don't get the weather report I was hoping to hear. When there is no James Ryan there is...no one else. I'm not sure but I can't help but think there has to be more than one nice high school student who'd like to do the news and weather. Perhaps there could be two 'James Ryans'. When James Ryan does come on the air well...that's interesting too. I always know when he's about to come on because I'm listening to a song and there's this moment of silence in the song, like someone puts their finger on the pause button. Then the song continues. A few moments later, James Ryan comes on, his rather-long intro also has a long pause before it so you end up having another 6-10 seconds of silence again before his jazzy little intro starts.

I'm not going to pick on the intro itself because, at least, he does have an intro. I'm going to pick on the fact that the sound engineers haven't quite learned the art of letting a song finish before playing the intro to James Ryan. This means you'll be listening to the Foo Fighters and then, suddenly, there's silence and along comes James. In the middle of the song. Again, I know it's a high school station but...well...it's the end of the school year so by now, I'd like to think the people working the station might have got the hang of working the controls. It's a music faux-pas to cut off an artist in the middle of song.

Because Mr. Ryan is usually late with his broadcast anyway (it usually starts closer to 7:05 a.m. than 7:00 a.m.), I can't help but think he might as well wait for the song to finish. Especially as after he's done with his sports reporting and the music starts back up again, the song that was interrupted is played again. This isn't so bad when the song was interrupted after about 30 seconds. This morning, however, the song was 98% finished before James Ryan interrupted it. So I got to hear the same song twice.

Anyway, I'm not actually picking on the radio station or James Ryan. I'm actually rather impressed that a radio station is being run out of a high school and that it does play such good music. More than anything, I'm rather fond of listening James Ryan in the mornings. He's part of my routine and, as noted yesterday, I'm a creature of habit. I think my irritation with the morning show also goes back to my need for consistency in my life; it's not consistent and while some people are ok with that, it drives me a little crazy because I'm a usually-on-time kind of Monkeypants who gets panicky if I'm going to be late.

So, while I'm relieved not to have to listen to Gamble and Finn in the mornings and I do enjoy the musical stylings of WHSS, I do miss my Kevin and Bean. I miss their snark. I miss their music. I miss their giveaways. I miss the fact that I was commuting with my roommate while listening to them and they slowly woke us both up and got us going into the day.

I'm guessing when I move, I'll have to start again with my quest for good radio since WHSS has a rather small bandwidth and their signal won't reach me in my new home. For now though, I do salute their efforts to provide this little corner of Ohio with some good music and a chance for the future DJ's of America to have a place to start.

Happy Tuesday!

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