Now Playing: Lost Souls by Doves

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My intention with writing right now is to just get everything out of my head and capture as many memories as I can before I forget them all. These pieces are all very rough drafts that I would love to eventually develop into more concise, meaningful essays, complete perhaps with insightful theses and crisp beginnings and endings. I’m not really sure what to call them at this stage. My idea originally was to write actual bite-sized stories, creative non-fiction, but most of the time it’s spiraling into essay territory or insane streams of consciousness.


Now Playing: “Open Your Eyes” by Lords of the New Church

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There I was at 13, in my bedroom on the second floor of our four-bedroom, stuccoed suburban home. It was the first house my parents bought themselves, having spent their first 16 years together raising two children in what was originally my grandfather’s house. That had been a one-story. The two-story felt like a freakin’ mansion.

The year was 1994. On the walls was a seductive poster of Robert Smith (just him, no band) in one of his signature, romantically-flowered button-up shirts; one of those stoner-y blacklight posters in…


Now Playing: “Gimme Your Love Tonight” by Sandy Wilson

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A quiet, 40-something Vietnamese man lives across the street from me with his wife and works on cars in his driveway a few days a week. He himself is rather reserved, but when he works, he listens to music at a volume high enough to echo around the block. Hardly inconspicuous. I’ve always wondered why no one has complained about it. Maybe they have, and he doesn’t care, I don’t know.

Normally my instinct is to complain about stuff like that. I believe in personal freedom, but I also believe in…


Now Playing: “The [sic] Charming Man” by The Smiths

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It was a day like any other day in Room 57. Ms. B was bumpin’ some instrumental downtempo while students completed their Do Nows and sipping her tea that had already been reheated in the microwave five times that morning. Her plan was to do something fun that day, i.e. play a game in order to review the Distributive Property.

I don’t play a lot of traditional classroom games, as they seem kind of lazy and typically don’t elicit the deep critical thinking skills we are trying to instill in our…


Now Playing: “Blue Honey” by Lunar Vacation

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At the end of the ‘18–’19 school year, one of my 8th graders asked if she could make me a playlist. I had just shared a “Ms. B’s Summer Jams” YouTube link with staff and students, comprised of underground funk and esoteric groove. I don’t think the majority of the kids were actually interested in my weird taste (it wasn’t K-Pop or the latest viral rap), though the grown-ups were hella diggin’ it.

I said, “Hailey! Are you kidding me?! I would freakin’ LOVE that!

Although I like to think I’m pretty hip…


Now Playing: “Bad Girl” by The Four Slicks

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My life can be divided into two distinct eras: Pre-KALX and Post-KALX.

The first era can best be characterized by a lot of fear, confusion, insecurity and anxiety associated with so much pent up creative energy from being somewhat of a frustrated artist and general angst trying to figure out my place in the world. There was still a lot of anxiety and angst after finding KALX, but at least I finally had a creative outlet that would reach a wider audience (wider than my bedroom). …


Now Playing: “A.H.B.” by S U R V I V E

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Goddamned music. It’s been mostly a blessing but sometimes a curse. It can make you believe in things that aren’t true and feel things that aren’t actually there.

Despite the fact that I’d been playing records when we met, it wasn’t until several months into our situationship that music ever came up in a meaningful way between Grady and I. We were making out in the car, as we usually did after my monthly DJ gig at his bar. It was comfortable this way. Uncomplicated and compartmentalized. Given his…


Now Playing: “Cake” + “Mesopotamia” by The B-52's

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This one hit me out of nowhere a few days ago. I am in the process of relocating, so boxing up my 1500+ vinyl collection. It may be in storage for a year or more, and I am giving many records one last spin as I pack up. It was a crisp but gloriously sunny Saturday this past weekend, and around the holiday season, I get hella nostalgic. I pulled out 10,000 Maniacs’ In My Tribe. I remembered “Like The Weather” was on that album and got a bug to hear (and…


Now Playing: “Have You Forgotten?” by Red House Painters

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In the summer of 1997, I was 17 years old, coming off a tumultuous Junior year of high school. I’d always been strange, with a dark side, but I plummeted that year for a hundred reasons. I can’t say it was any one single thing that derailed me, just a series of unfortunate events. Kind of like the Titanic. Ok, that’s an exaggeration. But my spirit had sunk.

Music always comforted me, and I was listening to a lot of it. Because of the new friend I’d made the summer before…


Now Playing: “Bizarre Love Triangle” by Frente!

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A musical thread weaves throughout my life. It has been the one constant. What this project has illustrated is that so many of my significant memories and experiences (and relationships) are tied to music and song in some way. This is a story I have tried to write several times, but it wasn’t until I decided to frame it around a song that it began to take shape.

I have never had a strong affinity for travel. Not in a grandiose sense. I like going on domestic road trips and taking trains. I…

Betty Blue

DJ / writer / teacher currently based in the Bay Area. Contact splendrous AT gmail DOT com.

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