Friday, August 6, 2004

Lost Enthusisms

Noodle, Tuffy and me, circa 1996. Photo by John.

I don't know whether it's true for you, but my brain can be awfully fickle sometimes. I burn with enthusiasm for something, for months or for years. Then I burn out.

It can happen quite suddenly.  One day I spend hours listening to a particular radio station or CD for approximately the 417th day in a row, or posting in a particular Internet venue.  The next day, I can't stand it for another minute.  Once that happens, in some cases, I never go back.  This thing that was a big part of my life is suddenly over.

Let me give you a few examples:

Once upon a time, back around 1992, I was devoting about five hours a night to posting on Prodigy.  It was a pain, really. Until someone came up with a neat little freeware add-on that allowed for saving text and pasting it into the program, P* subscribers had to type it all in directly, only to see it drop off the board five to seven days later--gone forever.  If I wanted to keep a FAQ posted for newbies, I just had to type it in again.  And again.  The more often people posted, the faster the postings would expire. Nevertheless, I did that for a year or more on the Quantum Leap board, answering questions about whether Sam's whole body leaped and whether Scott Bakula was really a nice guy (yes to both questions).  Eventually it got better because of the P*-to-text program, but it was still a repetitive, mostly thankless task. One night in 1993 or 1994 I didn't want to face doing it, so I didn't.  I never went back.

I was on AOL by then, so I soon started posting here instead. (The file section was a big help - no more reposting required.) By 1994 or 1995 I'd had enough of the QL board on AOL, too, because of infighting between fans and an overemphasis on Scott Bakula's physical attributes (i.e., women were obsessed with him as a sexy-looking guy). This time, when I stopped visiting the board, I knew I wouldn't be coming back.

From about 1988 to 1998 (dates very approximate), I was a big fan of an oldies station called Cool 92.9.  Half the disk jockeys were friends of mine. When the playlist changed for the worse, I protested (why were Phil Collins and disco playing on my oldies station?), and when Cool got better again I cheered it on. By the late 1990s I was contributing My Three Songs and Top Five at Five song combinations to the PD, unpaid and because it was fun, and tracking what combinations had already been used. Then some nasty person at Clear Channel fired Rich over creative differences (he was creative, she wasn't), and I was done.  I listened for a while longer, out of loyalty to Alan Michaels, but the station soon ruined that too, pairing him with some crass smart-aleck radio partner instead of Joan Lee. I had listened to Cool for a solid decade, but I couldn't do it any more. The station died, was resurrected on a low-wattage station out of Green Valley, changed formats into something no sane person would listen to, and eventually came back as Cool on some frequency or other, with a small and tired but traditional oldies playlist.  I'm long gone, but I know it's there.  For me, Cool was three radio stations ago.

And don't even get me started about the Tucson Toros.  I was in the stands at Hi Corbett for nearly every home game in 1994 and 1995.  Then the powers-that-be changed virtually everything I liked about it: the ballpark used, the GM, the team name and affililation, the mascot (from Tuffy the Toro to Sandy Sidewinder), and even the fans' access to the radio broadcasters and ballplayers.  It wasn't so much that I left the ranks of the Toros faithful as that they abandoned me by morphing into soulless corporate baseball.  Oh, yeah, I hear good things sometimes about the current owner and the current players, when the latter aren't playing up in Phoenix, but I can't get back into it. I've tried, but it doesn't hold my interest. I don't have the time any more, anyway.

So here I am, listening to a Tom Paxton CD instead of Fresh Air on NPR.  The guest was the recently-deceased curator of a pathology museum, and I didn't want to hear it.  Twice this week I've turned off Talk of the Nation, to which I've been a fairly frequent caller, attempted caller or emailer.  But yesterday it felt like noise.  I'm feeling all jangly and distracted, not the least by this journal.  The radio was just one more distraction. Suddenly I'm listening to Paxton, and L. Cohen, and PP&M instead.  Quiet music, relatively, but calculated not to annoy my co-workers in the next room.  Dave hates Disney soundtracks.

Is another sea change coming in my fickle brain?  I don't know yet.  When I do, I'll report back.



bigred3392 said...

Hey, congrats on being an editor's pick! This is quite a unique and creative journal :)

deabvt said...

Editor`s Pick. Yea!!!!

ryanagi said...

Wow. You sound so much like me it's spooky sometimes. TV shows I used to love, I can't stand to watch them in reruns any more. Used to love Howard Stern...couldn't care less now. Just left a board I have been posting on for over 2 years. Haven't looked back. Have CDs I won't ever listen to again. DVDs and VHS tapes too. Writers I used to ravenously consume every tidbit they, nada. I just hope the lovely shine I have for my own journal doesn't tarnish any time soon. (Oh, I do this with food too. I get obsessed with a certain tasty item, eat it daily, weekly, etc. and suddenly...bleech. Won't buy it anymore.)
;-) -B

eeyorehmg said...

Congratulations on the AOL Journal pick, too. Wish I could read them from home, but you know that sad MSIE incompatibility story.

Of course, you know why disco was on your oldies station. Because songs like "Rock the Boat" and "The Hustle" were 20-some years old and, thus, oldies. The oldies station up here is starting to play stuff from the early '80s -- Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called...etc" rather than stuff you'd identify with the '80s (Duran Duran, Men At Work) so far, but I'm sure those groups are coming. The march of time, you know. I'm surprised that Phil Collins' solo material was getting played on your oldies station in the late '90s. "Sussudio" and the like are still too recent to make it onto WDRC-FM up here.

We've got a dead ringer for Sandy Sidewinder at New Britain games now, except he's green and is supposed to be a dinosaur -- "Rex Cycle" walks around the ballpark and kids drop Pepsi bottles in his recycling barrel. He looks about as much like a tyrannosaurus as Sandy looks like a snake, but the kids love him.