Saturday, June 26, 2010

New Station

All my life I have wanted to live somewhere that had an incredible radio station. Growing up near two college stations, there were sporadic moments of radio greatness, but just as often they'd broadcast "Cats Screeching in the Night" or "Out-of-Tune Flutes Attempting to Shatter Glass" programs for hours on end.

I've lived near Public Radio stations that have had interesting news shows, Garrison Keillor's show on Saturday evenings, and the occasional folk or blues show, but classical music has been their main musical genre. And, don't get me wrong, I have nothing against classical; it's just that this is the year 2010 here, people. How about some music that came from this century?

Recently, however, I saw a guy riding his bike up the Main Street hill in Burlington. Dangling from his bike frame was a placard: "Farm Fresh 102.9." Hmmm, what's this?

Fresh is right. Farm Fresh Radio is broadcast from an actual farm in Bridport, Vermont. Their only commercials are brief, creative sketches done in their own studios or soft-spoken DJs plugging their sponsors. Their music lists generally include more songs and performers that I have not heard of then ones with which I'm familiar. Still, after most songs, I am left wondering who that was. Just as often, I never find out; there is so little chatter on the station that I have usually reached my destination by the time a DJ comes on to talk. If I had to come up with four words to describe their playlists, they'd be "bluesy," "bluegrassy," "Americana," and "gives-me-faith- that-there-is-still-a-universe-filled-with-great-new-music-out-there" (yes, hyphenated words count as one word, and if you don't agree, I make the rules on this blog.) In the last few minutes, they played Frankie Lee, Guy Davis, and Root Boy Slim 'n' the Sex Change Band featuring the Rootettes.

They are grassroots, word-of-mouth, and underground. The guy riding around advertising by bicycle fits perfectly with their message and mission. And don't count them out because they are new or because they are small. I have a feeling about Farm Fresh Radio 102.9. A feeling like they are about to take off. And that they're going to be here for a long, long time.

(Note: if you don't live in town, check 'em out at You can listen to them on-line and get their on-line playlist to find out who that last-musician-to-play-in-your-car-before-you reached-your-destination was.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Aiken Launches Website

Mark Aiken's new website exploded into cyberspace this week. Not exploded in a bad way (like "crashed and burned"); rather it is up, running, and already making waves. Don't miss out on the excitement: the new site address is, of course, Check it out! And please make sure to let us know if you have any issues (other than you are "wow'ed" out of your mind), try out the "contact us" form, and click on all of the different links.

In a related story, followers of AikenAction have surely noticed the overhaul of the blog's layout. The blog's creator is looking for feedback. Did you not even notice? Is the site more readable? Not enough color? Font too small? Better than ever?

These events are all part of a stronger representation on the Web, and so far, feedback has been nothing less than stupendous.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

New Sport

I have a new sport: it’s known as “Hosing.”

The only equipment necessary is a garden hose and a water-supply to hook it up to. Ideally, you would have a flowerbed or other receptacle to pour water into, but this is optional.

Here’s how the game works: first, walk into your yard with the running hose as if you have a purpose (the more purposeful you act, the better your results will be). Then start observing. I think you’ll find the results quite satisfying.

A less refined version of the sport has been called “neighbor-watching.” The guy across the road from me just put in a new driveway. Another guy operates a landscaping business from his home, and he spent a number of days planting a stand of trees between us (I probably needed to practice looking more purposeful), while up the road, a lady is putting siding on her new addition.

Another piece of optional equipment in Hosing is beer. I recommend cans for optimum efficiency. Take up this exciting new sport and get ready for hours of enjoyment.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Good Thing

"Glad you made it. Celts in a war. Kobe is terrific. I hate him. But love you."

I know a good thing when I see it. I sent this text message recently when Alison, after a 3-hour late-night drive with some friends, sent me a text announcing they had arrived at their destination.

A good thing is a wife who, receiving the above text, recognizes that this is an expression of eternal love and devotion and that, given what I was in the middle of at the time, is a highly meaningful and caring gesture.

Go Celtics!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Unmet Goal

This spring, I find myself in uncharted territory. For the first time in my running career, I didn't achieve a goal that I had set for myself. Actually, let's go back a few steps. It's not the first time I didn't meet a set goal; in my second marathon (the 2006 Vermont City Marathon), I failed to meet my goal of beating my time from my first VCM. The uncharted part is that this is the first time I CARED!

Why did I care? I don't really know, except that since that ill-fated 2006 marathon (for which the temperatures were in the 80s -- too hot to run 26.2 miles, that's for sure!), I have run personal bests in five consecutive marathons. So I guess you could say I wasn't accustomed to coming up short -- regardless of the effort I put in.

Was I surprised by the result at this spring's Vermont City? I can't say I was. I definitely didn't put in the time -- or the quality of -- training as I did for my last marathon. But I secretly hoped I wouldn't need to. This year's marathon wasn't as hot as the 2006 VCM, but it was deceptively warm. Still, I can't blame the weather when my training was so lackluster. So how do I respond?

I look no further than my spouse as a role model. Running the LaCrosse Marathon in Wisconsin, she missed the goal she set for herself by a minute. Then she was disappointed when the Mooseman Olympic-distance Triathlon (see photo) cancelled its swim portion due to weather. Alison wallowed in disappointment after both of these races for about a grand total of six minutes. After that, she was already on the lookout for other races to run -- in which she could meet her goals.

The lesson those of us goal-missers can take away? Regroup, refocus, and keep trying.

Alrighty, then. I'll look into running a fall marathon.