DJ Badger:  The News and the Journal

Entry One Hundred Sixteen.
Thursday, 2009.12.31, 2:40 PM CST.

Two good friends and two good milestones.
Current Mood:  A tad tired, but looking forward to 2010.  Current Scent:  Casran by Chopard.

Well, last week was Christmas, and it was pretty good.  We got a massive ice/snowstorm, however, which started on Christmas Eve... and it made driving incredibly difficult.  Also, on December 23rd, I was lucky enough to get a big ol' flat tire on my car.  That was a hoot.  (Remember... something weird always happens on December 23rd.  Well, if not always, then at least often.)

It's now New Year's Eve, which is rather amazing to me.  The year kind of flew by - but it had quite an impact.  There were lots of changes and lots of lives lost (Michael Jackson?  Who the hell saw that coming?), and overall it was definitely an impactful year.

As we close on 2009, I want to send a special "shout-out" to two of my best friends - TMJ and Kevin.  I have special Christmastime memories involving each of them, and I basically want to point out how important they've both been in my life.


KEVIN  (DEC 1989)
Kevin, aka "Wink," is the person that I've usually considered my "best friend on earth" (not counting my wife, of course) through this journey of life, though we actually have seen each other very rarely over the past 15 years or so.  In fact, if you combined the total time that we've seen each other during that time... odds are it wouldn't even add up to a week.

I first met Kevin back in middle or high school (I forget which), and as we got into tbhe later half of high school, it was clear that he and I both had very similar outlooks as far as music and movies were concerned.  We went to a small, rural school at which things like football and pickup trucks were considered much more important than anything "foreign" or "cultural" or "alternative," and anything remotely out of the mainstream was frowned upon.  Once I decided to start my own DJ service (EKG) in 1989, Kevin was my #1 choice to help me with gigs, and he did so very often until he had to leave state to pursue his military career.

One of my best memories of Kevin occurred in 1989 - 20 years ago, on Saturday, December 23rd, to be specific.  The day started with me going to our town's civic center and helping some of my senior classmates with some special charity-related activity (decorating something-or-other, if memory serves), and then my mom and I went out to Tulsa to do some last-minute shopping and whatnot.  During that trip, I picked up my first copy of Pretty Hate Machine by Nine Inch Nails - on cassette! - and after shopping, we went back home.

Kevin had been helping me with EKG gigs for a while by this point, and I was really excited about this new album I'd picked up, so I went over to his house for the first time and we hung out.  There was just something really cool about that meeting - nothing really all that unusual occurred, but it was just a really good memory to me, listening to great music with a fellow fan, checking out things I hadn't known about before like his drafting table and his comic collection...  God, I miss those old days.

These days, Kevin lives far away in another state.  He's doing very well; he has an 18-year-old daughter (!!!) and he got remarried within the last few years.  I haven't seen him in person for over six years, but we chat occasionally and he appears to be doing quite well.  He is one of the coolest, most cheerful, encouraging people I know - almost always full of tons of positive energy.  I really, really miss having Kevin around; I love him like my brother and I hope that he continues to be blessed as life goes on.


TIM (DEC 1994)
Tim (aka TMJ) and I first struck up our friendship when we met at an East Central High School holiday party that I was DJing in December of 1994.  At the time, I didn't have many friends; I had just broken up with my girlfriend Sarah that fall, and I had left NSU earlier that year.  I was now an OSU-Tulsa student, doing mobile gigs during the evenings with EKG.

Let me "Tarantino back" a couple of years.  For those of you who don't know, I was a member of "The Edge of Insanity," an alternative music programme on KNGX (Rogers State College's college radio station) back in 1991-1992.  Amazingly, some people still remember me from it, which is pretty flattering.

In 1994, I had only been away from "The Edge of Insanity" a couple of years, but it seemed like a very long time.  When I received the call asking if I'd like to DJ the East Central holiday dance, the girl actually asked me if I was "Badger" from "The Edge of Insanity."  Of course, I confirmed that I was, and I was thrilled that someone would actually ask that.

While I was DJing the dance itself, an odd fellow in glasses came up and asked me if I was Badger, and then told me that he was a huge Depeche Mode fan like me.  As it turned out, that was Tim (TMJ).  His girlfriend at the time was named Lori, and she was a member of the group at East Central who hired us.  (She wasn't the girl who called me, though.)  Tim and I talked a bit about Depeche Mode, he hung out after the gig was over, and we exchanged phone numbers to hopefully meet in the future.  (After all, it wasn't every day that I met "fans" of my radio work who also dug Depeche Mode.)

A bit later in the month, I received an interesting package in the mail from out of state - a bootleg VHS copy of Nine Inch Nails' infamous Broken Movie that I had ordered from an online source.  (Please note that I am adamantly against music and movie piracy, unless something is absolutely unavailable via any means - and even as of the time of this writing, The Broken Movie has never, ever been released via any official means, only leaked out and copied around by fans.)

The Broken Movie tape was something I'd been anxiously waiting to see.  For those of you who are unfamiliar, here's the deal:  Trent Reznor of NIN and Peter Christopherson from Coil made this long-form video to accompany Reznor's 1992 Broken EP.  In the movie, a young man is tied to a chair and forced to watch Nine Inch Nails videos while he is tortured and eventually killed.  It is incredibly gruesome, and some individuals in the past have actually thought it to be an actual "snuff film."  (I can assure you that it was not.  The young man was not genuinely harmed; it was just a masterwork of special effects and camera trickery.)

My copy of The Broken Movie arrived, and I watched it as soon as I could get some alone time.  Until that point in 1994, I don't remember seeing many more things that were so graphically violent - and I was a big-time horror film buff.  I found myself hiding my eyes and even fast-forwarding through some of the more explicit segments of the film - something I hadn't done in over 10 years.  It was amazing.

Knowing that Tim was a fellow NIN fan, I gave him a call, told him about The Broken Movie, and invited him over.  He came over, we watched it, and that was the point at which we started hanging out.  I soon visited one of his "DJ TMJ" gigs at a Tulsa University frat house, and I soon after started hanging out with him and Lori at the video store at which he worked (the long-since-defunct Critic's Choice Video on Harvard).

As many of you know, Tim/TMJ and I have collaborated musically several times since then, partnering at DJ events and working on music production together.

If Kevin is my "best friend on earth," then Tim has been my "best friend in the state" for years on end.  He can be boorish, offensive (even to me), and opinionated, often demonstrating viewpoints that directly oppose mine... but he's one of the most awesome people I know, and I know that if I need help with practically anything, he'll be there.  Unfortunately, even though we're both in northeast Oklahoma, he and Lori (now his wife) live a significant distance from Lanna and myself, and we're quite busy with our respective families... so we don't get to hang out as often as we used to.  Like Kevin, though, I love Tim like a brother, and I miss seeing him more often like we used to years ago.


No matter how much money or how many material possessions one possesses, nothing that can be bought can compare to a true friendship.  It's important to occasionally let those friends know how important they are to you.  Keep that in mind.

Happy New Year, everybody!