Monday, November 28, 2011

an excerpt from "My Chequered Life", the LaFevre autobiography

You can’t have a book coming out of San Francisco without a section dedicated to the unfortunate natural disaster that occurred here in 1989. The Loma Prieta earthquake. Or any other shaker, for that matter. Luckily, I was more fortunate than others. My home was on solid rock. A lot of SF is. And a lot of SF isn’t. Half the city is built on sand. Half of downtown is landfill. The majority of the damage was on landfill, but of a different type. The financial district was built on landfill with stringent architectural requirements in place, and different materials. It was assumed in the event of a major earthquake, all the glass from the highrises would immediately break and fall. It didn’t happen. Thanks to code. Unfortunately, the landfill along the northern side of SF (Marina), wasn’t built for permanent use. Unlike downtown who’s pillars went 100 feet down into actual rock, the Marina was filled in with trash as a temporary deal, for the 1939 World Expo. After, it was decided to be used for housing. Big mistake. Then again, it was 1939. It was still water back in 1906. Nothing to go by as far as research. Back to 1989. Liquefaction. Landfill turned to quicksand. Homes costing millions because of the bay views, reduced to mush. Like my bowl of oatmeal.

I was working at the SFJCC at the time. Even though I’m born & raised here, and never tripped on earthquakes, usually riding them like a wave, this time I ducked under the table. Not because it’s what you’re supposed to do in this type of situation, but because the light fixtures hanging by chains, were swaying back and forth. It was 5:04pm. And off from work. I ran home immediately (five blocks away). Luckily, there was no damage. Even the beer bottles that I had lined the tier that ran the perimeter of my living room, had survived, sans five. Out of 50. Not bad for a shaker and no bottles falling off a ledge measuring four inches. I was stunned. My day was not over, though. Part Two was just beginning.

I was scheduled for a shift at KRQR that night. Midnight to 5am. But it wasn’t your normal shift. I don’t know why and who knows why, but the Music Director was the scheduled DJ in that timeslot…on the record. She also had the obvious responsibilities as the Music Director that required her presence during the workday. I think it was a money-saving deal. It worked. Up until the earthquake. Since the music list was printed two days in advance, by her, she would take the list for her day and shift time, and record voice tracks between the music; adding in promo spots and public service announcements. I suppose the station could have simply used someone like me to run pre-recorded ID’s and promos throughout the shift, but I guess if they could have, they would have. My guess is, it wasn’t allowed, per FCC regulations. Being a union shop may have been a factor. But, then again, I did the overnight board operations as a silent DJ Monday through Friday at KOIT. Maybe KOIT was non-union. Being a major market station, I seriously doubt it.

Anyway, my job was to silent DJ this overnight shift, playing the music, and running her pre-recorded voice tracks where indicated. I realized immediately, her DJ skills suffered in the wake of her other duties as Music Director. There were regular inconsistencies with her voice tracks. Back-announcing music that hadn’t played yet, listing songs out of order from the music list, etc. From that point, I started screening the whole reel against the list, before starting the shift. I juggled the songs to match her back-announcing, splicing out certain sections that didn’t match the format altogether. I made it work. After all, I was the best. Most-requested by all the on-air talent. My shit was tight. But this time, the recordings were rendered moot. You can’t run recordings that sound as if nothing happened seven hours earlier. This was major news.

After securing the home front, I still had seven hours before my shift. I saw the news about the devastation in the Marina district. My district was secure. I wanted to help. Even if it was for only a few hours. I hopped on my bike and crossed the hill down to the Marina. Fires raged. Power was out. I had my flashlight with me. I secured my position at a major intersection, and directed traffic for five hours. I knew it would die down later on, enabling me to move on to my midnight shift at KRQR. I wouldn’t find out until years later, after taking the N.E.R.T. (Neighborhood Emergency Response Team) course provided by the SF Fire Department, that it basically came about because of the huge support provided by civilians on that fateful day.

With power lines down, and water mains broken, fire hoses had to run many blocks farther from where the fires were. Civilian bystanders jumped in and assisted with running the hoses and maintaining the lines. The SF Fire Department, realizing the staff shortage, created the N.E.R.T. program. It’s sole purpose: to act as a backup to neighborhoods in the event of a disaster, and in situations where Fire Department access would not be timely. For the record, LaFever is officially a San Francisco Fire Department-certified N.E.R.T. member. And CPR-certified, as well, through a company program.

On to KRQR. Already in progress, KRQR was broadcasting their sister station, KCBS, from down the hall, on their channel. Ah, the benefit of synergy. I took over the board from the previous DJ. Didn’t have to do anything. An hour later, the Program Director calls on the hotline. No biggie. How could I do anything wrong when we were running another station. It would be my shining moment. All 15 seconds of it. KRQR was a union shop. AFTRA. I was non-union. He told, “I doubt we’ll have to broadcast KCBS the entire night. If they go to interviews with the general public like they’re doing on television as we speak, switch back to KRQR, go on-air, explain if there are any further developments, we’ll inform you, do a station ID, and go into music. And run pre-recorded ID’s for the remainder of the shift.” Whoaaa. Cable and college radio was easy. This was a 50,000-watt station, heard from Sacramento to San Jose. I had to write down what I was going to say. Hey, I’m not proud. The last thing I wanted to do was screw up a 15-second spot. My only spot.

Pulled it off. Within a couple days, two buddies told me they heard me on the radio. Mom did, too. But didn’t know it was me. She said she was listening to my station, broadcasting news, some guy came on, said something, and went back to music. I said, “Mom, that was me.” Evidently, due to high-grade equipment, processors, equalizers, and compressors, my voice came out a little different.

“The best place to be in an earthquake is a stationary store.”

#275 - Ink Blot, Ink Blot

LaFevre was staring at his bathroom floor tiles, which resembled mitochondria, as if staring at human cells through a microscope. All tiles had the same pattern. But upon further review, smaller depictions could be seen in the patterns, in many shapes and forms.

LaFevre has seen and realized the ink blots don’t look like anything. Anyone who sees anything other than a butterfly, or plants, is nuts. Here’s why: the ink is splattered, and the paper folded in half. So the pic you see is a half ‘n’ half that is symmetrical. Both sides are mirror images of each other. All I see are butterflies. In the big picture, it means nothing, especially if every picture is a butterfly.

Of course, if any of you reading this, sees something other than what it is, which is ink, maybe a butterfly, well, you’re nuts.

Monday, November 21, 2011

#274 - Compostribution

The newest addition to the LaFevre Dictionary Of Contemporary Terms. Dedicated to the green cause, even if it is yellow. If common manure can be manipulated into fertilizer, as well as the dogs of the world, peeing upon a tree, and the tree doesn’t die, then it most certainly would be a compostribution on the part of LaFevre, to add his own to the environment. But only in extreme situations.

#273 - Tunnel Vision

Aptly named, for the lack of long-term focus on reaching the end. On the surface, they are merely a shortcut through a space, that would normally take twice, three, or more, times longer to get to where you’re going. But “tunnels”, have a much deeper meaning – philosophically and spiritually.

You enter a tunnel to get to the other side of whatever. Those who pass on, enter a tunnel from this life, to the other side. Those who have reached the end of their rope, for whatever reason, are also in the tunnel. Unfortunately, those caught in the tunnel, are caught up with the length of the tunnel, and fail to see the light at the end, thwarting their efforts to reach that end. You can’t see it because the tunnel has turns you must navigate.

There is always a light at the end. The time it takes, takes some time, but is of no consequence, because it is the light at the end that is all that matters. The light itself, is all you need, to get you through the tunnel. You may not see it, but it is there. The length of the tunnel is your challenge. The light is your prize. The tunnel itself, is merely a crossover. To a better place. If you have the time, and patience.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

#272 - Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Feeling stupid is but for the moment.
Acting stupid continues through the night.
But being stupid, lasts a lifetime.

#271 - Seeing Is Believing

Pricing. The worth of a product or service is what you are willing to pay for it. That’s an individual thing, regardless of what the seller thinks. You can bet the price is marked up over the actual cost anyway, but that’s capitalism, to make money, with which LaFevre has no problem.

The problem here is when the prices are non-existent, with the sole intention of the seller to issue their classic line: “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.” LaFevre calls BULSHIT. LaFevre has his own retort: “If I have to ask, it’s not worth it.”

LaFevere retorts...

Dream on, Bullwinkle...

#270 - Jean Genie

Women make their pants so tight for them to get into,
that guys can never get into them.

#269 - Dreamstate

Ever talk in your sleep, only to wake, realizing you were talking in your sleep, but not before you finishing the point or argument you were making, only to finally stop after finishing what you had to say, just to make your point, only realizing the whole time, you were talking in your sleep?

#268 - Character

Character. Our lives are defined and built on character. It is said our characters are not born, but created, sculpted and molded. This is true. One could say it is a part of our DNA, ironically, to create our character to the point it is perceived as part of our DNA, even though it’s not.

The evolution of our character is a continuous journey, beginning in childhood, changing, alongside puberty, relationships with our peers, and on through adulthood. This evolvement has difficulties, unfortunately. One difficulty, in the early stages, is in determining how we wish to define our character, to start. This is due to our inability to find and decide just exactly what our character should be, at least for now. We think it is forever, without knowing we can change it at any time. Such is life as a teenager. Never said it would be easy.

The negative difficulty is far more serious, which many suffer from; and that is separating one’s character, the created, separate, character, from reality. The ultimate challenge is to separate that created character from our true selves, if that character is not a true representation of our actual selves.

“Character is what someone is willing to do, or does,
if they knew they wouldn’t, be caught.”
- Anonymous

“Just because you ARE a character doesn’t mean you HAVE character.”
- The Wolf, ” Pulp Fiction”

#267 - Worth The Price Of Gold

LaFevre was asked recently if he was still attending the event. Another time, if he was still going to assist.

LaFevre understands those who do make requests for service, are not used to people performing as requested, as promised. The 21st century has become a society of unreliability, with individuals blowing off commitments, then coming up with bullshit excuses.

LaFevre’s Promise #267 –

Unlike many in today’s world, Claw’s word is good as gold.

#266 - Bark Worse Than The Bite

LaFever remembers an old episode of Star Trek: New Generation, where everyone on board got sick. Worf, the resident Klingon, sneezed, resonating throughout the bridge. Everyone turned, and Work shrugged his shoulders and said, “Hey, I’m a Klingon”.

That is the sneeze of LaFevre. Loud, and reminiscent of a geyser. But there’s more to it than that. Unfortunately. LaFevre must remain focused and in control at all times, when in the throes of a sneeze, for a reason most others would never think of it. Why?

“LaFevre only has one only worry in the world, having your dentures accidentally fly out, in the middle of a sneeze.”

Tiger Claw says...

Who me? I’m nobody. And since nobody’s perfect, I must be then.

#265 - Big Brother

1984. Big brother is watching. Not as much as you think. LaFevre has been watching, as well. Watching the watchers. LaFevre sees the watchers as divided into three categories. Full-timers. Part-timers. And After-The-Facters. Yup, he used an ‘e’ instead of an ‘o’, obviously.

Here’s the deal with security cameras: the Full-timers are employed in banks, office buildings, and anywhere there needs to be someone watching at all times. The part-timers are employed, primarily for law enforcement purposes, on street corners, to catch ‘runners’, because they only activate on movement, when the light changes, to catch those running lights. ‘After-The-Fact’? That would be the rest of the cameras, when they need to cover a lot of ground, such as: mass transit (on busses, trains, and transit platforms), property, and retail establishments. Why? No manpower to sit there and monitor. This is why LaFevre refers to them as after-the-fact. The cameras tape, in the slowest speed, and recorded on disc, to be rewound and watched, AFTER something happens.

Better to be safe than sorry. At all times, whether by chance, or deliberate, someone is watching. Or recording.

#264 - Clockwatchers

LaFevre had a watch once. In high school. After it broke, never again. didn’t need one. All LaFevre had to do, if he had to at all was, look at any number of clocks nearby, or ask someone with a watch. He realized that the expense wasn’t worth it. It was a vanity thing. All he had to do was ask someone with a watch, what time it was.

But this is a double-fevism. Here is the second part: if you think about it, there are only two reasons to look at your watch or a clock – one, because we’re waiting for time to pass, and two, because we’re running out of time.

Patience. The windmill never strays in search of the wind.
- Chinese proverb

#263 - Lucky Kools

There is absolutely no reason whatsoever, rationally or logically, to take up smoking. Probably the most common reason is to look cool. This happens most often at a young age, due to pressures to be cool, thanks to our peers, and other sources, most notably, the media.

Unfortunately, fate, and irony take over from there. We grow up, mature, but continue to smoke, for addictive reasons, as well as other emotional and psychological reasons. The irony of it all is this: we started for vanity purposes, to ‘look cool’. We never stopped, even though we know it’s wrong, but continue do so because of the addictive impulse. Now, when we smoke, at least in public, we try to look cool doing so. The vicious circle rears its ugly head.

#262 - Hardway Or The Highway

Enlightenment comes more and sooner, to those who learn the hard way, as opposed to those who simply are seeking it. This is because enlightenment, in and of itself, is about cause and effect, action and reaction. One can seek enlightenment, and be given thoughts, theories, observations, etc, from others, but true enlightenment cannot be obtained until that one moment of experience that proves that theory, observation, etc.

Do not seek it, for it will most certainly find way or another.

#261 - The Fix

'Working on fixing it'. I always thought you are either 'working on it', or 'fixing it'. When I hear 'working on fixing it', that actually means you're not fixing it at all, but merely thinking about it before you start; hence, 'working on it'. Bottom line: 'working on it' actually means the opposite; otherwise, you would actually be fixing it."

LaFevere retorts...

What other people think of you, is none of your business.

#260 - 6-Quad Sufficiency

The latest new terminology in the LaFevre Contemporary Dictionary. It is common knowledge on the street, what the “40” represents. No one brand, but the bottle and it’s size, in question. “32”s don’t count. Only domestic, 6% beers come in “32”s. But those malt liquors that come in “40’s” that LaFevre loves so much, also comes in smaller sizes. 24-ounce cans, to be exact. But using “24” is unacceptable, since “40” is already in use to represent the size. So how do we represent the 24-ounce can?

LaFevre kept thinking “boxcars”, to use a term from the casinos, representing two sixes on the die rolled. But that’s only 12. “Double boxcars” would represent, but that’s too much for a nickname in the slang sense.

LaFevre gives you “Six-Quad”. Six times four is twenty-four. As in 24 ounces. Usage in context: “I raided my change because I couldn’t afford a 40, but had enough for a 6-quad.” LaFevre has said it before, and will say it again, you heard it here first.

#259 - Penthievery

There are 2 types of people: those who use the same pen all the time, and only replace it when it either runs out, or someone walks away with it, and those who walk away with other peoples' pens. But how do you tell the difference?

The ones who walk away with other peoples' pens, have a collection of pens in a pencil cup or coffee cup, and NO TWO PENS ARE ALIKE. They use one pen themselves, but when they are away from their desks, they use other peoples' pens, then walk away with them. When they get back to their desk, they put that pen in the cup with all the others they walked away with, never to use them again.

Of course, there is always the exception to every rule. Any pen that is promotional in nature is fair game.

#258 - Shopping

No one should shop when they're hungry. Why? The buying impulse in the hunger state results in unnecessary purchases in the short-term, with the intention of eating when one gets home. Unfortunately, too many items are purchased for this purpose, resulting in either spoilage of items not consumed when getting home, or over-consumption, to avoid spoilage in the long-term.

Or, as LaFevre sees it, guys will buy what they can eat when they get home; but ladies will buy what they can cook when they get home. Too bad it isn’t apparent to the ladies, guys won't eat when they get home, if the meal is cooked immediately, not because they were dragged along for the shopping spree, but more likely because they simply aren’t hungry.

Ladies: food can be a significant turn-on, but after a meal, all we want to do is vegetate, while the food is processed in the gastro-intestinal tract, which is why most countries have a two-hour siesta, in the workplace, immediately after lunch. The blood from the brain flows below, for this process. But not any further. So if you’re looking for action, you’ll just have to wait, like the proverbial pool urban legend about swimming after eating.