Tuesday, October 21, 2008

KPBS (thanks for coming by Flo)

A few days ago Flo Rogers left a comment here. I was rather surprised at that. Let’s see, according to their web site, Florence Rogers is President & General Manager of KNPR radio, Nevada Public Radio here in Las Vegas. KNPR is running one of their periodic ‘Pledge Drives’, which are necessary to raise money to keep them going. I’m sure she came by because someone in her office does a search for KNPR to see what is being said about them, so let me help out a little more by saying KNPR KNPR KNPR KNPR. That will probably bring her back (Hi Flo!) unless the last search put me on the ‘don’t visit again’ list.

I am a KNPR ‘member’, I send in some bucks every year, and usually have KNPR (have I said the station name enough yet?) on in the car. As I said a few days ago, that is the station that is almost always playing on my radio, but during pledge drives I just cannot bring myself to listen to those fifteen minutes of begging for money that interrupt the interesting programs. I know that it is necessary in order to put the programs on, boy it sure would be nice if they could just say ‘call now’ once and raise enough to keep going, so I understand it, I just don’t like it. So during these drives I frequently find myself pushing the buttons on the radio, and looking for at least one station that is playing music. The radio in my little red car (the commuting car; hey, 45mpg, fill up the ten gallon gas tank every three weeks or so, don’t knock it) has six buttons, and yesterday I pushed all of them and each one had either commercials going or the ‘morning drive team’ blathering away. Yes, at times I do like to hear the radio hosts talking (can’t call them DJ’s anymore, as most stations are computerized with the play list already programmed, and the on air person just pushes the play next button) and the ones here that I usually listen to are very pleasant. We moved to Las Vegas about five years ago from San Diego. The main station listened to down there was KPBS, the SD National Public Radio channel, but the other FM station I flipped to was similar in that the morning drive team was a man and a woman, with another guy as the background person that they frequently joked with, who was the gopher and the brunt of most jokes.

Just looking at the KNPR web site, if you are here Flo, it is a really bad web site. Yes, the first page has tons of information, but please put your art department to work and make it pretty. The first page lays out lots of places to click, but I am overwhelmed by the possibilities. My job is designing and coding web sites, and I feel sorry for the programmer that maintains this one. Anyway, there is a little box on the bottom that is titled Web Archives. Inside are links to listen to some of the local shows. My favorites are John Curtas, who does restaurant reviews every week and is really interesting to listen to, and Along the Way with David Bert, where David travels around the area and describes interesting places. If you have ever been to Las Vegas you should realize that there is not much around here. Coming from the New York area, there is always something around. Well, in Nevada you can drive for hours without seeing another car or even a small town, so for David to find so many interesting little towns and places to visit is amazing. And yes, we have gone to quite a few of the places he has described. I also like listening to Desert Bloom with Norm Schilling, giving desert gardening tips, and Nevada Yesterdays describing our history. Nice to be able to go on the web site and listen again or catch up on shows I missed.

I do not listen to KNPR (say it again) at work. I am a programmer, and usually have my earphones in playing music to keep me from being distracted by what is going on around me. When I listen to KNPR I end up listening to the stories and concentrating on what they say (which is probably not too good when driving either) and forget where I was in my program. I work in a basement, under tons of steel and concrete and people and so do not get any kind of radio reception, so I plug my headphones into the computer and listen to internet radio stations, or my Ipod. I alternate between a few French radio stations, which are great to listen to while programming because I do not understand French and so the DJs are not distracting as I have no idea what they are talking about, and thus can just treat them as part of a background song with very quite music accompaniment. I also am hooked on a New Zealand radio station, Zed FM, which also has a male/female morning drive team, but with interesting accents, so they too kind of blend into the music. New Zealand is 21 hours ahead of us, so when I listen in the morning it is the next morning's commute over there (got that?).

I should say that Flo (though the web site says Florence, I have never heard her called anything but Flo on the air) also has an interesting accent. I’m pretty sure it’s British, (yes Anna a little like you) and she is rather interesting to listen to. You should be able to tell by now that I like accents, I used to sound like I came from Joisey but now have a rather neutral speaking voice, rather like the national television announcers who are difficult to place. My wife can catch the words I pronounce differently, but most of them don’t come up in normal conversation. Like drawers or chimney, which she is the one that pronounces incorrectly (not me). There are a few accents that I have problems with, but unfortunately are used by some of the most beautiful women in the world so I will not say what they are as I read their blogs every day. (no, it’s not you). So yes, Flo has a very nice voice, but unfortunately she is management now, and the only time I get to hear her is during these campaigns.

Today in Las Vegas we have the pleasure of a visit by the Vice Presidential candidate Sara Palin. I would much rather have Tina Fey, but, I’m not going to hear her speak so it doesn’t really matter to me. Except for my wife, who is on the list of Obama supporters and thus gets phone calls all the time. She has been invited to go to the rally and hold up Obama signs. I think the plans are for them to stand across the street from the rally site and not try to go inside, but I will be watching CNBC to find out if there are any shots of her being arrested or beaten up by old ladies. I’ll keep you posted on that one.

Early voting started here in Nevada last Saturday and we both went down to a local polling place and voted on Sunday. There is a trailer in the parking lot of a local health club which is filled with voting machines where we go. It never seems to move, so it is easy to find. There are a number of places to vote early here in Clark County, with mobile trailers travelling from school to school to wherever, and permanent places such as that one nearby as well as several shopping malls permitting voting machines to be placed in their larger center courts. We voted once at the nearby mall, but news reports showed lots of people taking advantage of the early voting and long lines at the malls. There are about a dozen machines at the health club trailer, which were all full and another half dozen people in line when we got there. Clark County uses electronic touch screen machines, which do print out a paper strip alongside when you are done so that there is a paper trail. The machines are easy to use, and rather quick. We always take the voter pamphlets that come in the mail and mark them up with our choices ahead of time, so on voting day all that we have to do is go down our marked sample ballots and touch the corresponding places on screen. I will not tell you who I voted for for president, it is a secret ballot (no, don’t go reading the suggestions over there to the right: oh, sorry, yes, please do).

I just don’t understand people that show up to vote and then are surprised at what and who is on the ballot, as if it was the first time these things came up. People, if you don’t know the issues and what candidates stand for don’t vote just because you like the sound of the name, educate yourself ahead of time, and read those sample ballots and booklets that describe the propositions. Geez, no reason to see things for the first time when at the voting machine, and try to make up your mind then based on the legal text, read the proposals and responses ahead of time and get a little education. So if you are in a state that permits early voting; go do it and don’t wait until Nov 4, avoid the lines.

Sorry I missed video Monday yesterday. Lots of things going around, but after Flo’s comment I figured it would be best if I said something today. So here are a few random videos just to put something up. First, one of my favorite Van Halen ones, I did like the David Lee Roth days. I remember vaguely a teacher back in seventh grade, and there is one in Texas that is pretty hot, as well as a photography instructor someplace else.

And Dan pointed to this one: Winona's Big Brown Beaver. No embedded link, sorry, but go click on it. The video is rather strange, but coming up to Halloween those cowboy outfits might be rather interesting.

And finally for those cat lovers out there, cats at work:

Have a fun week, and remember to vote early and often.

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