Weird At My School: Lab Out Loud

Well, here’s a surprise: A Weird At My School column that’s really about things they teach in school.

Lately, I’m spending an inordinate amount of time on the Internet. My new book hit stores a couple weeks ago, and like 99% of artists out there today, the marketing and promotion and publicity sits squarely on my shoulders. And I’m okay with that. To paraphrase drummer Martin Atkins (Public Image Ltd., Ministry, Nine Inch Nails), who actually gives lectures on D.I.Y. marketing and touring, “Nobody else is going to care about your project as much as you do… and, frankly, why should they?” He’s right. So I’m up every morning, peppering Twitter and Tumblr and Facebook and Goodreads and a half-dozen other sites with tidbits about my book, praying it will gain some traction.

As a consequence, I find myself increasingly sympathetic towards helping other people promote their own ventures—even ones that fall completely outside my normal beat. Case in point: Lab Out Loud. This is a podcast hosted by two science teachers. Now I don’t rightly recall ever having a science teacher that could hold my attention — hell, we used to joke that my high school Physics instructor had a plate in his head, he was so dull — but Dale Basler and Brian Bartel are the exceptions that prove the rule. And you know how scientists love rules!

The guest for “Science We Can Listen To,” the first podcast of their fourth season (download it here), is John Linnell of They Might Be Giants. Although it’s geared towards professionals, the whole darn podcast is pretty charming (if you only care about TMBG and their Here Comes Science album/DVD, fast forward to the seven minute mark). Listen to the guys geek out about the importance of Tom Lehrer‘s “The Elements” (which sets the periodic tables to a Gilbert & Sullivan melody), or using “Ring of Fire” and Tom Petty‘s “Free Falling” in Physics classes. And if you like what you hear, tell a friend. Because even though kids may regard their favorite teachers as rock stars, most of the ones I know are working with the same kind of grassroots, D.I.Y. resources as authors and musicians — which means they need all the community support they can muster, whether it comes from parents, administrators… or beleaguered radio deejays-cum-authors who are tired of talking about themselves.

DJ El Toro hosts the variety mix show on Wednesday nights from 9 PM to 1 AM on KEXP 90.3 FM Seattle and kexp.org. His weekly rant, “Weird At My School,” (usually) appears every Monday on the KEXP Blog. Please follow DJ El Toro (aka Kurt B. Reighley) on Twitter!

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