Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Old Time Radio Shows

Now that I have this amazing Internet radio, I have downloaded some old radio shows and put them on a flash drive which is compatible with the radio.  Have I mentioned how much I love this radio??

Anywho..  the radio series I'm listening to is "Our Miss Brooks" from the late 1940s starring Eve Arden (she played the principal on GREASE) and Gale Gordon (the second Mr. Wilson on the original DENNIS THE MENACE).  Miss. Brooks is a high school English teacher and the series centers around her life and the people in the school.  Makes me nostalgic for working in a classroom again.

I have listened to some episodes before (they air them from time to time on a local radio station), but now I'm trying to listen to as many episodes as I can download off the Internet.

Radio shows can be a lot of fun.  Unlike television or movies, you create the "set" or surroundings in your mind.. even what the characters looks like.  The dialogue is richer since the audience needs more detail to picture exactly what is going on.  You can't see a confused look on a person's face, for example, so the dialogue has to get that point across to the listener.  It's like being read aloud to from a fascinating series of short stories - "theater of the mind" as the local station calls it. 

I'd love to see a revival in radio shows.  I'm not saying it should make television obsolete, but I think people would enjoy a good radio series or two.  With all the electronic devices we have, they would be great to listen to on the go via your smart phone or laptop. 

If anyone would like to start a radio series - let me know.  I have a few ideas... not to mention I have a great voice (and face) for radio.  Ask my co-workers! I can do more voices and impressions than a person with multiple personality disorder.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Memories

I put up my tree last weekend - a week before I normally would.  I had a hellish schedule to work this Thanksgiving and knew I wouldn't be in the mood to do it this weekend.  - Oh yes, thank you to all of you who support the Black Friday madness - I didn't get to have Thanksgiving dinner with my family because I had to be at work for you. *gets off soap box*

Anyway, decorating the tree is always like a trip down memory lane.  I have a wide range of ornaments from vintage 1930s to plush animals to recent Hallmark ornaments. The serve as reminders of Christmases past - and the people who gave them to me - or the places I visited when I bought them.  That's part of the magic of Christmas.. reliving fond memories of days past and friends and family who may be gone.  All of that wonderful nostalgia gets brought back up during Christmas time.

As I looked at the ornaments I thought it might be neat to share some of my Christmas stories with my readers.. all three of you.  Might make a nice distraction for the chaos that tends to be on the flip side of the Christmas holiday.

--------- The Christmas Angel ------------------

My Grandparent's always had an angel on top of their Christmas tree.  In fact, until recently, I always had an angel on top of my own tree because of the fond memories I have of Christmas at their house - though this year I opted for a 1940's star.  Anywho--- I remember one Christmas Eve when the angel on Grandma's tree became a focal point of the holiday.

It was the late 1980s and the angel on the tree was well over a decade old.  A few days before Christmas, the lights in this angel finally gave out.  These were the days before fuses in the plug could be changed or perhaps it was the type that when one bulb went out, they all did. 

I remember Gramps sitting at the kitchen table trying to get the lights to work, but to no avail.  He finally admitted defeat and simply put the angel back on the tree.  Without it's lights, I remember the top of their Christmas tree looking so dark. 

Gram and Gramps went to a few stores looking for a new angel, but didn't find anything they liked.  So when Christmas Eve rolled around - which back then was when we had the big dinner at their home - the top of their tree remained dark.

I remember very clearly sitting on their living room sofa looking at the angel, wishing it would work for just one more Christmas - just for Grandpa's sake.. he worked so hard on it trying to fix it.  Within a few minutes, the angel's lights suddenly came on!  The angel remained illuminated for the rest of the night, but never worked again after that Christmas.

To this day I remember that moment as a Christmas miracle - a very simple miracle, but one that always comes to mind.  Some times it's the simple things that stay with us... I don't remember a single present I got the Christmas, but I do remember that angel giving us one more Christmas of light!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

New contraptions

I am so up to date with technology - well, up to date if it were 1947 perhaps.  I'm one of the few people left who listens to the radio at home - not just in the car.  I actually have an old Philco 1941 console radio that I'll use to listen to music the news.  I find that I'm multi-tasking so much on the computer I don't pay attention to the television screen - in fact, I rarely turn it on these days. 

Any who... the old Philco doesn't get great reception and depending on the weather, my favorite stations come in rather fuzzy.  People have been telling me for a while to try Internet radio - digital radio stations and providers like Sirius and Pandora.  I've used Pandora on my phone to listen to when I work out, but my computer's speakers are HORRIBLE, so it's not enjoyable... I never gave much though to it.

THEN.. quite accidentally, I stumbled across a retro styled Internet radio.  It was love at first site!!  With the classic styling of the 1940s paired with modern technology and gadgets, what's not to love??? So I snatched up this little beauty and there it was waiting for me after work today.  JOY!

I'm hooked!  The stations are so clear and there are SO many to choose from.  I already have about four Big Band stations programmed into the radio.  I'm amazed at what it can do.  It's not a cheap retro knock off like the Crosley radio products... this is a solid sound system with some awesome features -- or maybe I'm just easy to impress.

I decided to stay up late tonight in the hopes I'll sleep in later tomorrow (Thursday) since I have to work the horrible 12 hour shift at work starting at 5 and continuing to "black Friday" morning.  So what have I been doing most of the night?  Drinking tea and listening to the radio!  Good God I have no life.  Maybe this is why I'm single??? Nahhh.....

Any who - after a night of tapping my toes and wishing I could jitterbug, I guess it's off to dream land for this fellow. 

Good night to all of you in radio land.. I mean... cyber space!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is just over a week away.  Where is the time going??

When I was in school November took forever - especially for Thanksgiving to arrive.  I used to love this time of year - the first snowfall, the anticipation for the upcoming Christmas season (stations didn't start playing Christmas music the week after Halloween!) the amazing dinner Grams would cook, enjoying a turkey coma sleep the next day and putting up the Christmas tree that weekend. That's all changed now - I have to work on Thanksgiving... an overnight 12 hour shift.  So much for that holiday... damn you adulthood!!!

I'm trying to remind myself that Thanksgiving isn't just about the dinner, it's about counting your blessings and being thankful for what you have.  That's not easy for me to do.  As time goes by, the dark cloud hovering above me seems to be growing ever larger - like my waist line.  Not getting to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with my family and friends was the final nail in the coffin.  While my family is enjoying a wonderful meal, drinks and laughs, I'll be working retail Hell so obsessed shoppers can stand in line forever and maul each other over a sale item.  *gets off soap box*

There's been a trend on Facebook to post in your status things you are thankful for.  Not a bad idea.  Since I need a real pick me up, maybe a list of blessings is indeed in order.

I am thankful for:

1. my friend Anne being in my life for another year
2. my health
3. my parents
4. my new niece, Brittany
5. new job at work (even though it's still in the realm of retail)
6. co-workers who make life at work so much better! Especially: Jen, Tracey, Mallory, Christine, Renita, Holly, Maria, Angie and Dan (to name a few!)
7. developing a closer friendship with David and Anthony who have become amazing friends - as well as participating in their wedding.  Their relationship keeps the small spark of hope alive in my heart that true love is indeed possible.
8. meeting and becoming friends with Rob and Greg - and watching them start a family together.  I can't think of better parents!
9. paying off my car! (though it is time for a new one lol)
10.  winning the lottery.

Ok, that one isn't true.  Just wanted to see if you were still paying attention.