I'm proud to say that around 1PM PST this afternoon, Egg Radio broke 1000 listeners. Egg Radio has about 5000 regular listeners, but this is the first time that over 1000 have been tuned in at once. It's been difficult getting this point. "The Egg" has endured server meltdowns, bandwidth crunches, and spam attacks.
If you read my site, but have never heard of (or listened to) Egg Radio, here's the scoop: I've always been a huge fan of radio. I was one of those kids who recorded fake radio shows on his Fisher Price tape recorder. I forced my brother and neighborhood friends into playing parts in radio theater. I taped music off FM and spliced in my own talk-breaks. Eventually, I started working in radio. When I was in New York I had worked for several high-profile radio stations as an air-personality and/or producer. Most of my experiences were good. Some were not.
The thing about radio as an industry is: it sucks. It is (typically) managed by corporate yes-men or skill-less, soul-less, mind-less automatons. The on-air staff is (usually) made up of angry, bitter, egomaniacal hacks who secretly (or not so secretly) hate each other and wish failure on each other. And, despite what you might think, the pay is pitiful, the hours are horrendous and your job is always at risk.
On top of all that: the music currently being programmed on FM is dismal. The same bland couple-o-hundred songs spin over and over again. The same bland artists. FM "formats" have become so specific that variety is non-existent. Listening to FM radio is so tedious for me that, while driving, I listen to talk radio.
And don't even get me going about "morning shows".
Despite this HUGE down side, I missed radio when I left. I missed the creativity. I missed the instant feedback you'd get when you aired a truly funny bit and the phone lines lit up. I missed the quiet hum in your headphones when you pressed "MIC" on the console as you prepared to speak to thousands of people.
Last February I decided that I could do it better. I could build a better station than the big companies. I chose an eclectic format: based on "alternative rock", but with deeper cuts that spanned a few decades. I mixed in comedy. I mixed in pop-culture. I mixed in music that you would never, ever expect to hear on the radio. Hell, I even mixed in Strong Bad songs.
But then I did something that radio the giants would never do: I put the listeners in charge. I let every listener rate the songs from one to eleven (this one goes to 11). The higher the rating, the more often it would be played.
I could do this, you see, because I also built an entire radio programming software package: from scratch. My radio software tracks thousands of songs, categories and artists. It schedules and automates the music based on a complex algorithm that I created and tweaked over the months.
I also acted as air-talent and even let listeners have a turn at being "Guest DJs". I billed Egg Radio as exactly what it is: "Radio for Geeks with Taste".
Currently, I don't have that much free time and don't give The Egg the attention it deserves. But that's going to be changing in 2006.
So, if you're still reading, you might as well click over to Egg Radio and check it out. Finally, I would be remiss by not thanking the core group of Egg Heads who have stuck by me through thick and thin: Shinigami, Spender, Sancrist, Groonk, Heather, Danni, Blackie, and a slew of others. You know who you are.
Thank YOU guys. I will not let you down.
“Eh?”, replied Maria.
“You know. The same way. Like this.” I’m gesturing. “Um. Tambien. Menos. Shorter”. I’m struggling: waving my hands around my head. I’m in SuperCuts and my stylist Maria only speaks a bit of English. Hey, for $12.95 plus tax, that’s what you get. I know it’s low end, but I usually get a decent cut.
“Ok. Ok.” She understands.
I nervously chuckle and she goes to work. I’m skeptical. Arriva, Maria. Arriva.
Snip-snip. Snip. Snipsnipsnipsnip. She’s working furiously! She’s armed with scissors in one hand and a what must be made from something-as-hard-as-titanium-but-still-as-yet-unlisted-on-the-periodic-table-of-elements comb in the other. Snip-snip-snip. Snipsnipsnip. Even Johnny Depp would be jealous of her speed and form. Then--
She got me. Nicked me with the scissor on the top of my ear.
Emotionless, she says, “Lo siento” and pauses for a second to feign sympathy. Poorly.
Back to work: Snipsnipsnip. Snip-snip. Snip--
“OW!!” Damn it. She got me again!
Apparently she used up all her sympathy with the first wound because she just keeps chopping away.
Then I hear it: “splat”.
I glance down at my vinyl smock. A drop of blood. “Mother effer”, I think to myself. She's butchering me and doesn't even realize!
I look up in the mirror. I have blood smeared across my forehead. She doesn’t seem to notice or care. I'm a slab of beef.
“Wait, wait, wait. Stop!” I raise my hands. “I’m bleeding!”
“Eh?” She has no idea what I’m saying.
“Bleeding!! Blood! Sangre!”
“Oh?”, she finally noticed. She takes a step away. “Oh! I can’t cut joor hair no more.”
“What?” I don't quite understand.
“I can’t cut joor hair no more,” she says defiantly. “Joor blood. Ees not safe.”
I’m shocked and annoyed.
“My blood is not safe? YOU cut ME. And you can’t finish? Because I’m bleeding?”
“No, sir.” She says, unyielding. “Sorry.”
Without another word, she snatches away the blue vinyl smock and hands me a tissue. Now, I’m standing there in the middle of SuperCuts, bleeding from SOMEWHERE on my head, holding a tissue. And: I have HALF a haircut.
Maria disappears in the back. In my mind, I had called out after her: “I thought you people were supposed to be good with knives!” But then I thought better of it, realizing that may actually be a Puerto Rican racial stereotype. Then I remembered the line from The Untouchables: “Isn't that just like a wop? Brings a knife to a gun fight.” Ok, so it’s an Italian stereotype. Useless. Crap. Unable to articulate any type of cultural offense, I slink toward the exit. Defeat.
After performing an in-depth phrenological investigation, I discover the source of the bleeding: my right ear. I apply pressure with the Kleenex and mumble something about The Alamo. Two steps from the door, I hear from behind me: “Um. Excuse me sir?”
I turn around. It’s the receptionist/cashier who tried to flirt with me earlier. A man.
I’m still dazed. Perhaps from all the blood loss. “Hm” is the only acknowledgement I can muster.
“You haven’t paid.”
“WHAT?” I exclaim. People are watching now. “She cut me. TWICE. Then disappeared to your back room without even finishing.”
A lispy retort: “She says she finished.”
I make a face like I just smelled sour milk. Surpised and disgusted.
I loudly sigh and stalk to the counter. I hand him my American Express card and say, “Can I pay half because she only did half the work?”
“It looks fine, sir.” Now, he's going to DARE to get snippy: "If you want someone else to cut your hair, I can put your name back on the list."
"No thanks. I'm not supposed to donate more than one pint per day."
He stares at me while my credit card is authorized.
He hands me the receipt and asks, “Will you be leaving a tip on your card?”
“Look”, I say, still applying pressure to my throbbing wound, “The only tip I’m leaving is a piece of my freakin’ ear. Have fun finding it.”
I hand him back the credit card receipt. He condescendingly thanks me and even chuckles a bit as he says, “Thanks for choosing SuperCuts.”
Laugh it up sweetheart. I’m calling Amex and disputing the charges. I mean, the receipt is signed by some guy named “V. Van Gogh”.
Ruby Tuesday, again? (sigh) What can I do though? This is Long Island, land of chain restaurants and strip malls. I would prefer my unique hole-in-the-wall Thai joint but then most of the group will complain. "Thai food? Like, from Thai Land?" (sigh) And so Ruby Tuesday it is. It's the only place we'll agree on. I won't complain. A rack of spicy ribs always suits me fine and I'll do some serious damage at that salad bar. I've already hungrily spied a bucket of tri-color noodle salad.
An aloof, teen-aged hostess seats us and then we are greeted by "Marc with a C" who will be "taking care of us this evening". He pulls up a chair and giggles today's "featured items". That's annoying. Don't sit. Don't force your funny on me. Don't perk it up. Keep it simple and friendly. Just give me competent, prompt, professional service and I guarantee you I'm your best tip of the night. Lose the shtick. We send Marc-with-a-C off to fetch us some Oniony appetizers and two-for-one margaritas.
Uh oh. Something is happening in my gastrointestinal tract. Something bad. Is it my system protesting the vast amounts of grease I'm about to ingest? Or maybe it's the funky sushi I had for lunch. Whatever it is, it's going to need to be dealt with stat. I excuse myself and head to the head.
Discomfort builds as I trot toward the restroom. My pace quickens with each step. Pain is coming in waves now. Mentally, I'm timing the contractions and trying to avoid any other analogies to childbirth like "crowning" or worse: "my water broke".
I burst into the bathroom. Empty. Ah, excellent. I'm going to need privacy for this. In a frenzy, I dive into the farthest stall and quickly scope things out. Pretty damn clean in here. The toilet seat is uncharacteristically devoid of typical male splatter and other repugnancies. Smells nice, too. Good, good, good.
I start unraveling toilet paper by the foot. Once I have enough slack, I wrap it around my hand over and over and over again. I create a quilted cushiony catcher's mitt. I give the seat a quick wipe. Just in case.
Next, more TP. Hand over hand, I unroll about, oh, three mummies worth. I place it on the seat, covering all plastic. This is our "packed base". I'm working quickly now. Danger lingers. Disaster imminent. Then, a few paper toilet seat covers. Five, actually. Faster, faster. Feeling beads of sweat forming on my forehead, I crisscross the paper seat covers on top the TP base creating soft sanitary strata.
My body is READY. Let's do this! Hurry! Belt. Pants. Down. Sit!
Ahhh. Sweet release. WHEW. While I completely defile the throne, I am pleased that this was a freak incident and I'll be able to enjoy my meal without worry of a messy encore. Good. Noodle salad, here I come.
Then, I hear the door creak open. Damn it. I almost got out of here without -- wait a minute. I hear "clop, clop, clop" across the bathroom floor. Puzzled, I angle my head to get a closer look under the stall:
Please, oh PLEASE God let her have wandered into the wrong bathroom. Please, I swear that I'll never ask another -- The door creaks again. Is she leaving?? NO! Someone's coming in. Then I hear it: two women having a conversation.
I feel my face flush then I courtesy flush.
I'm in the bloody ladies room! At Ruby Tuesday! On Saturday night!
My world swirls before me as I try to stave off the panic welling up inside. Now there's a flurry of activity in the restroom. The clatter of ladies shoes on porcelain. They chatter about … well, I don't know. Lady things, I guess.
I quietly finish up my business and - wait.
The conversation disappears out the creaking door. Am I alone?
I stand completely still and listen.
Time to move.
I reach for the handle of my stall to unlock it, and then suddenly someone tugs from the other side! Crap!
"Hello?" asks an older lady's voice. "Is someone in there?"
WhatdoIdo? WhatdoIdo? WhatdoIdo?
I know! I flush again.
"Oh, sorry" she says and enters another stall. This is my moment. The eye of the storm.
I explode out of the stall and make for the door. I reach out for the handle - and freeze. I look to my right and sigh. I have to wash my hands. I don't WANT to. I *HAVE* to. Moments ago I fouled that toilet so badly that mid-evacuation I offered it an apology. I must wash.
I pump a squirt of soap, flip the faucet and quickly wash. I spin on my heel toward freedom.
The door opens with that familiar creak and as I pass through, I hold it open for *another* lady walking in. She says "thank you" and eyes me suspiciously.
I NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE. NOW.
I take one step away from the Ladies Room and - BAM.
My brother Gino, standing before me.
He instantly recognizes the panic in my ashen face. I'm frozen in place. He considers me for a long, uncomfortable moment. Then he looks at the sign on the door behind me. Then back at me with a raised eyebrow.
"Again?" he asks.
I hang my head in shame and reply, "again".
I have no problem with colloquialisms or expressions. Hell, I think everything is "awesome" or if it's really great it can be "teh aw3some". I call people "bro" way too much and I'm "rockin" a little too often for my own safety. I say "whoa nelly", "gadzooks" and even "egads". I make no apologies. These words fit my personality. But there is some slang that doesn't fit me at all. Read on.
Slang is defined as "nonstandard words or phrases which tend to originate in subcultures within a society" or "phrases familiar within a group or subgroup".
Within these groups exist even smaller subgroups; each with their own respective parlance. Back in the Bronx we'd greet each other with "Ay! Oh!" and in response: "Oh! Ay!" Texans say "Howdy, ya'll." In Boston things are "wicked awesome" and "wicked bad".
But here's where I get irked: I have a problem when one subgroup tries to commandeer another's lingo.
There are a
couple of guys I "know" who insist on calling each other (and everyone else) "dog". "What's
up dog!" "Let's roll, dog!" "That shit is wack, dog."
These are white guys. Middle-class white guys. Who work for a mortgage bank.
Fellas, "dog" is for Americans-of-African-descent. It's not for you. Ever. And "that shit is wack"? I don't know. You lost me at your first "dog".
Urban expressions and street-talk can certainly be enjoyed by white people, but they can not be used by white people. We are not down with the hype tip, g-money grip. See? See what I mean? How ridiculous did I sound just then?
Let's, as Caucasian-Americans, appreciate the "shizzle" and the "nizzle" from afar. Let's cherish the "bee-atch" from a distance. And let's be charmed by "pimpin' hos" as spectators only. Let's never adopt these terms as our own.
You'll never hear American blacks saying that movie was "bitchen" or "boss" or "rad". You'll never catch an urban youth calling another a "putz" or a "kvetch" or even a "shmendreck". A boy from the ghetto won't exclaim "rats!", "good grief!" or "fiddlesticks!"
They respect the boundaries of the lexical subgroup. Shouldn't we all?
Can you emo-LA-hipster dudes quiet down a little? Seriously. I'm just sitting here in the coffee shop trying to do a little writing and I'd appreciate it if you could keep your ridiculous conversation to yourselves.
I couldn't be less interested in how the
Please stop lamenting about your pain and how life has been *so* unfair to you. Each of you is WHITE, MIDDLE-CLASS, AMERICAN and MALE. Guess what, it doesn't get much easier than that. If you don't think you're doing well enough in life, try cutting your jet-black-moppy hair. And the bulky black-rimmed glasses with the clear lenses? No. Just. No.
We don't think it's funny when you quote Napoleon Dynamite. Yes, Jon Heder was hilarious. Sure, I'd vote for Pedro. But dude, if you “gawsh” one more time, I'm going to use this biscotti like a Ninja throwing star. You want to see “sweet skills”? You're gonna taste my chocolaty wrath.
Nobody in this café cares how many MySpace friends you have. Your webzine sucks. And no, I don't want to read your blog. I can already guess what your web page looks like. Here's your checklist:
Hey. I sincerely believe that people should be free to do whatever they want to do. Hell, I'll be the first to admit that I've got issues and opinions. But I don't FORCE them on people.
You are going out of your way to make sure we know that you're hip and trendy. It's obnoxious. You're in a STARBUCKS in HOLLYWOOD, for chrissake. How underground do you really think you are?
Please, emo-hipsters, take your cappuccinos back to your Mini Cooper and leave the rest of us drones in peace.
At the behest of his misses (Her Lovely Self), Magazine Man was doing some basement cleaning. Rather than throw away his sweet swag, he decided to put the loot up for auction. But he wasn't looking for money. Oh no. In order to win an item, you had to do "something cool" with it. I assume he means have sex with it. Whatever.
Anyway, MM had a SWEET Han Solo Blaster water gun which we thought would be *perfect* for squirting the squirrel in my tree. As payment for the blaster, I had to make a video of myself soaking the little bastard.
Well, here it is. I'm paying it forward.
Fan mail to: ajgentile-at-gmail-dot-com
Hate mail: magazine.man-at-gmail-dot-com
UPDATED: Movie poster genius courtesy of Shane Nickerson. "This time, it's FURSONAL." You MUST enlarge it and read it. MM as the Voice of Reason made me spit out my coffee.