The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

12 January 2007

A regular Captain Quirk (Part Deux)

A tag for this came in from just muttering, and while I could convincingly (I think) argue that I've already answered this one, many moons ago, I figure, how hard can it be to come up with five more Strange But True Tales?

  • Westbound 19th Street in Austin, Texas, since renamed for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., used to, and may still — I haven't been down there in about five years — suddenly turn right and then downward, plummeting toward Lamar Boulevard and Shoal Creek. When I was sixteen I decided I would ride my bicycle down this Ramp from Hell. Darn near put myself into the creek. On the other hand, I nearly pinned the 60-mph speedometer that ran off the front wheel, which gave me far more of a thrill than I could possibly have deserved. And no, I didn't even think about riding back up; I took Lamar half a mile north where things were a trifle flatter.

  • I got my first email account in 1985, through MCI Mail. A box cost something like $35 a year; each email cost fifty cents, and you could write to people who didn't have an email account for a buck and a half. (They'd print it and mail it for you.) Never once got spammed, either.

  • I have played ice hockey exactly once: on a frozen-over parking lot in central Massachusetts, without benefit of skates. The pain has since gone away.

  • We wore uniforms when I was in high school, and part of that uniform was a striped tie. I never did get the hang of tying it, and eventually succumbed to the lure of a clip-on. Since it was excruciatingly obvious, I decided to call attention to it even further by fastening it down to the front of my shirt, not with the usual tac or bar, but with a standard paper clip. That year I stopped off a couple afternoons a week at a friend's house on the way home; said friend's sister (twelve-ish) was highly displeased with the paper clip, and actually gave me a proper (if oversized) tie bar, which I still have. I was 15 at the time; eventually, I figured out that her motive may have been something other than merely improving the state of my grooming, and by "eventually" I mean "some time within the last year." I have, however, learned how to do a decent four-in-hand.

  • I tend to keep consumer products for incredibly long periods of time. My blender was acquired in 1983; my vacuum cleaner in 1976; my "big" stereo system in 1974; my stapler (an Ace Clipper) in 1969.

I suspect I can come up with five more the next time this comes around.

Posted at 6:30 AM to Screaming Memes

It's not a RED stapler, is it?

Posted by: Dan at 8:13 AM on 12 January 2007

Nor even a Swingline.

Posted by: CGHill at 8:19 AM on 12 January 2007

Yeah! Awesome, as we say. I especially like the uniform tie tale. Thanks! and looking forward to the next go-round.

Posted by: anne at 8:45 AM on 12 January 2007

Please tell us about your vintage stereo gear. If it was decent stuff in its day, and it's still in good nick, it's probably superior to a lot of the current product.

Posted by: Saint Russell at 6:18 PM on 14 January 2007

The tuner/amp (JVC's 4VR-5456, their top quad machine of the day) is in fairly decent shape, though it's time to give the controls another dose of cleaner. The only thing that's failed on it is the phono input, which actually works but which has picked up a ground loop somewhere and puts out too much hum no matter how I ground the turntable; for the moment, I've added a separate phono preamp.

The speakers are KLH Thirty-Eights, which were actually introduced in 1972. They're traditional two-way acoustic-suspension boxes with 10-inch woofers, a scaled-down version of the famed KLH Six. Still sound pretty good, if a tad weak at the very bottom and top.

Posted by: CGHill at 6:54 PM on 14 January 2007