Thursday, August 25, 2016

Aquatron VX-33 "The Egg" 8 Eight Track Tape Player

Aquatron VX-33 "The Egg" 8 Eight Track Tape Player

Been in a cool dark storage area for about 5 years.

This was rebuilt to work like new. Still does.

The belt was replaced, heads cleaned and adjusted.
 Bad lamps were replaced, knobs were cleaned and unit 100% tested.

There is nothing wrong with this physically and electrically. The pictures does not do it justice. I repair electronic, but I am not a photographer.

The battery box is super clean and the antenna is straight.

Offered as-is, no return.

No worries. There will be no return. 

I have only two 8-Tracks, The Beach Boys "Endless Summer" and Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits, so I played them both this afternoon. Why this detour on the way to perfect recording technology was needed I'll still never know, but having this thing seems to complete some transactional analysis in my brain. I react to it emotively and consider it an aesthetic triumph. I hope to eventually get a few more 8 Tracks to play. The radio works, too. 

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Star Wars Original 12 Figures From Kenner

(o) KENNER (o)

Star Wars original 12 Kenner action figures, all original, with original capes and weapons, on a Kenner stand I believe you had to mail in from a General Mills cereal offer. I know this because my mom got this for us, although I don't remember having most of these action figures, just Darth Vader, C3PO, R2D2, Chewbacca, and a Jawa. We had no interest in the human characters.

We saw Star Wars at the Robin outdoor theater I think the summer after it came out, when it was re-released. Of course it was awesome, and we were blown away, but we didn't really collect the toys very much. 

C3PO and Obi Wan Kenobi

We called Darth Vader Dark Vader the entire summer until school started and the other kids corrected us. I still persisted in believing his name was Dark Vader, and it was not apparent to me until The Empire Strikes Back that he was a human in a suit of Space Agre armor and not a robot. 

We never had or wanted either one of these action figures. In 1978 it just didn't seem to make any sense to us. 

Chewbacca and Princess Leia

To us R2D2 and C3PO were the true stars of the movie. I didn't detect until much later how much of a jerk C3PO was.

We're far enough down that no one is reading anymore, so I'm going to tell this awful story. We didn't have these toys, because in general we couldn't afford them. For Christmas 1978 all I wanted was the Millennium Falcon from the Sears catalog. I knew that wan't possible. I did get the Land Cruiser, however, and I was happy. Knowing my brother could only have been four years old at the time makes this story all the more awful, and adding to that awfulness that the man who owned the Ben Franklin lived across the street from us, but we coerced our youngest brother to shoplift a Jawa. I think the action figures might have only been like $2.98 at that time, but we didn't have it. 

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Congo Park Watercolor By Jenny Mathews

Jenny and I went on vacation to New Orleans earlier in the summer. It was an amazing vacation. We stayed at the Olivier House. 

The Olivier House by Jenny Mathews

Of course we received the usual warnings. Don't go here, don't go there, which we did our best to ignore. One of the places we were advised against going to was Louise Armstrong Park. Not safe they said. But we went, anyway. Reading the history of the park and Congo Square was fascinating. It was the one place slaves and freed Blacks were allowed to congregate in freely. Well, semi-freely. One could almost feel the energy that had been imbued into that ground. For me the most striking feature of Congo Park was...

No matter what question you ask in New Orleans, the answer seems to be Marie Laveau, and even locals in the know will freely admit ain't nobody really knows a damn thing about her. I never asked about Marie Laveau, because I didn't want to get the answer they give to tourists. I don't know much about anything metaphysical, but if this tree isn't my spirit plant I don't know what is. 
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Monday, August 1, 2016

August of the Outsider Poets Who Collect VHS Tapes

For the first time ever I have a copy of Scream and Scream Again on VHS, and I'm playing it for the second time tonight here at the apartment. Watching it with no sound the plot just becomes more and more incomprehensible. I can tell right now this is going into steady rotation when I'm here. I'm also reasonable sure I will never be able to explain to a rational person what this movie is about. 

Bought 52 VHS tapes Thursday at the Habital For Humanity resale shop. It's an odd place to find two rooms of VHS tapes, but someone who owned five local video stores donated them, so they're selling them five for a dollar. Unfortunately, I was apparently the last person in town to hear about this, so all I was able to find that really popped my cork was Scream and Scream Again, and another movie called Supernaturals that I watched earlier. It has Nichelle Nichols and Levar Burton in it, so double Star Trek bonus there, and was actually quite odd and entertaining. I wan't able to get the lady at the counter to reveal anything about the donor, but she did say maybe more tapes will come in next week. 

I was amused to see the Super Dave tape because I really enjoyed Eisenstein's turn in Curb Your Enthusiasm. Jenny and Jack were right there helping me sift through the tapes, and Jack found a copy of Electric Horseman and asked me if it went in the cart. I said yes. Jenny found a few oddball movies, and at five for a dollar it's hard to say no. 

I heard last week that the last VCR in production has been discontinued, but it seems there are enough out there to last us through the zombie apocalypse. The donor had apparently brought in this ponderous early VHS player that was as big as an AMC Pacer. They wanted fifty dollars for it or I might have gone for it. Space has become a limiting factor in my life. Just not enough shelf space for everything I want to collect.

Hey, it's August. Fantasy football season. And we still have our yearly trek to Willow Fest to boot.  Pin It

Friday, July 29, 2016

Cassette Collecting As An Alternative To Vinyl

Some days I wake up and I think to myself, "What is absolutely the dumbest thing I could do today?" And a few weeks ago I sunk to a new low with my answer: collect cassette tapes. 


I hated cassette tapes. Perhaps nothing in my lifetime was more lowly and uninspiring than cassette tapes.

The number one reason cassettes sucked is the number one reason vinyl records are still cultural artifacts: the artwork and liner notes. However, I never envisioned myself collecting vinyl records ever again, until a couple of years ago. When I considered all the albums and bands that had made a difference in my life, it occurred to me that I had no physical obejects that commemorated that. Just digital files. So I slowly started collecting some of the albums that had been my favorites. Devo's Freedom of Choice was the first, but Queen's The Game and The Cars and R.E.M and The Police soon followed. Even AC/Dc and Judas Priest. Soundtracks like The Monster Club and The Return of the Living Dead.

But soon my collecting habit was becoming expensive. So, I wondered if there was a more economical alternative. Like 8 Tracks or cassettes. The reality is we never owned an 8 Track player, so I have no sentimental attachment to 8 Tracks. I really don't get very sentimental over cassettes, either, but when I used to go into the record store they often would have the album I was looking for only on cassette, so I'd buy it in that format. 

The first thing we'd do back then when we bought an album is record it on cassette. If we'd been smarter that would have been the only time we ever played the album. We'd have put it in storage and just listened to the tape. But who thinks of that kind of thing at the time?

So, here are a few of my first acquisitions...


Of course it's Devo. I got these for like five dollars each, which is still about half of what I might have paid for them when they first came out. I'm still not entirely convinced cassettes are something I want to collect, but there are about 50-100 albums I'd like to get in this format.

The Twin Peaks soundtrack will run you about $50-$100 on vinyl, but I got the cassette for seven dollars. Of course it doesn't have the feel and impact of a full vinyl album, but who can afford vinyl at those prices? 

It's still possible to find cassettes on the cheap. I bought Paul Simon's Graceland for a quarter Wednesday night. Still a lot of people just looking to get rid of them. Will they ever be highly collectible? Probably not, but it really depends on the artist and album, The ones that are nearly impossible to get on vinyl are often available on cassette. It's not an entirely satisfying substitute, but it's something. 
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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Slow Down

Yesterday it was time to go to the YMCA. Jack and Jenny were going to swim, and I was going to go into the gym and workout, then do cardio upstairs. First we ran a few laps around the track, then split up so they could go swim and I could workout.

My head spins a little when I get in the gym. I wasn't sure what body part I wanted to work, and people were just buzzing around me. Finally I decided to do chest and shoulders, and found an empty machine. I got through my chest and shoulder routine, then did some incline sit ups and went upstairs for cardio.

I settled on the recumbent bike where I could monitor my heart rate and pedal a visual course in the French Alps. I began peddling was being a little lazy. I couldn't get my heart rate up , so I started working harder. The course became more of an incline, and I was eventually able to get my heart moving. Then one of the older gentleman I've seen there for many years came over and started talking to the guy on the bike in front of me. This guy looks exactly like Dustin Hoffman, is probably in his late sixties, and I've seen him bench pressing 300 pounds. 

He starts talking in a private tone I recognize. It's the tone one takes when discussing a major medical issue. He points at his heart and I hear him say "The surgeons say there is nothing they can do." I start peddling harder. I hear him say something about how they are telling him to just rest, and I start peddling harder. Up the French Alps as hard as I can. Finally, I reach my target heart rate, and I can't stop trying to go faster. I don't want to hear what he is saying. I don't want to think about my own heart and how after my surgery I had to learn to walk and ride a bike again. 

I'm going harder and harder, and my heart rate is surprisingly not going up, which is good. I'm sustaining. Then I feel a hand on my shoulder, and it's Jenny, and she says "Slow down." And my heart rate starts to go down. Quickly. Which is a good sign. I coast down the Alps for a few more minutes, and we go to Subway with Jack and we go outside to the bike path and play Pokemon Go for an hour. 

It's now midnight of the next day and I have to go down to the basement and finish my day with cardio on the Schwinn Airdyne. Pin It

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I Have Groat's Disease, But It Doesn't Have Me

It is an entirely fictional disease that has been fabricated in the script of HBO's Emmy nominated show, "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Groat's Syndrome, also known as Groat's Disease, is a neurological disorder, marked by excessive hyperactivity and spasticity.

I disagree that it is a fictional disease, because I know many Americans that suffer from Groats and may not even know it.

I went to Arkansas once to visit my cousin and my cousin Robert said I bet you can't say "Fruit froat" five times in a row and I tried and I ended up saying "fruit fart" and he thought that was the funniest thing. I was funny the whole weekend as they had some sort of Arkansas plumbing and when someone went to the bathroom the turds would float down a cement channel to the creek, and we'd stand there and laugh. I then fell into that creek a few hours later when a rope broke. That's about all I remember from that trip.

I was in Arkansas again a few weeks ago on my way to and out of Louisiana. 

Groat's Disease is serious business.  Pin It
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