Tuesday, January 25, 2005

my vintage hi-fi {a photo essay}

well here it is, for those of you haven't been able to see it so far, including you folks i've never met, or those i know but haven't seen in years. my mid 50's Zenith console hi-fi, in all it's glory. sit back, relax and let the soothing sounds of the pixies 'surfa rosa' wash over you. hahaha

ok, so here is the whole set up as it looks when it's not in use.

the whole set up

underneath the console, you will see my receiver that i am using to bypass the defunt original. it's a SONY STR-7055, and as far as i can tell, it's from circa '72-'73ish with 75w/chanel. i found someone selling something similar on ebay, for like $175, so i guess it's great to have gotten this for free, especially because my STR has way more options and ports etc. here's a sweet shot of that.

mid 70's SONY

You can really see how great these two pieces go together, even though they were made decades apart. i have so many great options with this thing, and infact have a new component i am going to be bringing into the mix really soon. i've already hooked up a set of rca to 3/8 jack for an iPod or laptop, and that works pretty well. the wire could be more insulated, but a total rewire (to eliminate interference) is a long way down the line. for now, the next thing on the horizon is hooking a mid 70's tape deck up so i can make mix tapes from vinyl. the second console that i canabalized the garrard deck from has a nice tape deck, and so that's what i will use for that project.

so those really cool doors in front of the speakers that i think i mentioned before? well here are before and after links to show you what i mean.

so now we can check out the full set up. here's how it looks when i'm actually actively listening to records. the speaker doors are open and the top is up.

open 24hrs

Though of course you can listen to it with the speaker doors, and top closed, it's just not as cool that way.

Here's a couple of links to the interior of the console (including the sweet record storage spot). you can check out a detail shot of the garrard deck


, or of the original zenith receiver.

so that's about it for the console restoration, or set up, that i did so i could finally listen to my records. i am so excited that i can finally hear them again. so now here's a couple of shots of hanging out here at home this morning, just as an example of what it's like around here when amanda is at work (ssshhhh!)




Sunday, January 23, 2005

everywhere there's lots of piggies


oh sweet sweet vinyl, how do i love thee, i can't count the ways!

today, after getting home from a kick ass bachelor party in big sur, for keith, i finally received my garrard cartridge slider from the turntable factory in south carolina. i have been waiting for this with coffee-baited breath for weeks. i can finally play my records.

i started out with 'seven swans' by sufjan stevens, which kicked some major major ass. then i opened up with all barrels and threw on my original white vinyl version of 'the beattles' aka the white album. oh lordy, i haven't listend to this copy, save for maybe once at the manor, since i was in junior high. i was probably sitting with my mom, wondering how she got so cool, and realizing that this album probably had a major influence on her. no wonder she loved listening to hank williams on sunday morning am radio, or that she was the first one to ever play guns and roses for me. with the playing of this album so many years ago, everything clicked into place for me. i finally began to understand my mom as a person, and not just as my mom.

on throwing away instructions

please please never do this. matress tags, ok i can deal with that, but not instructions, particularly ones with diagrams. after opening up my garrard cartridge slider, i soon discovered to my dismay that amanda had thrown away the diagram telling me which of the four different wires connected to which of the four posts from the slider to the cartridge respectively. so i drove to best buy. they had already lowered the metal doors across their entrance, but a yellow-shirted guy was guarding the exit for customers still leaving the store. i explained my problem, that i just wanted to run in and draw the diagram from the back of an unopened package. through the grace of that young yellow-shirt, i am listening to the white album right now. thanks best buy guy, my mom would give you a big kiss on the cheek.

so i'm going to be busy for a while

there's some fine tuning to do with the turntable, getting everything balanced, anti-skated etc. then there's the listening to do. for those of you that are interested, tomorrow morning is the only time i work this week until i leave on friday morning to paint a house. i will be spending my hours this week drinking coffee and listening to records. feel free to take some days off work, bring some snackies, wear a jacket and a neck-tie and settle into a musical vacation. drop me a line if you are thinking about coming over.

Monday, January 17, 2005

whoooo are you, who who, who who

Which O.C. Character Are You? Find out @ She's Crafty

Friday, January 14, 2005

gently out of time

so i have been up a whole hell of a lot lately. the last week or so i have been sleeping about 3 hours a night max. strangely, i feel alright. i guess its because my waking hours are mostly spent watching the o.c. on dvd, drinking coffee, and drving amanda to and from work. of course every once in a while in that time, i do go to work, but every week for the last month or so, i have been receiving less and less hours. it sucks. things are really great though, even though having a flush purse would be nice... of maybe louis vuitton bag for that matter.

things are really great. im drinking some aged sumatra coffee from 1998. yeah this coffee is like a nice single malt wiskey. aged and everything. it's fantastic. where was i this time of year 1998??? i think i was eating lunch at carls jr in cottage grove, and about to head back to my junior year in high school. now here i am! i have arrived at this moment, sitting on my couch, drinking coffee, listening to blur 'think tank', and about to go to the laundromat. not mention that i am married. that's cool.

matty b has been coming over more often lately, and it's awesome. i love having the guys come over to the house during the day. we eat sandwiches, drink bear, and watch the o.c. it's like we are house wifes or something, and it couldn't be more cool.

amanda's parents are coming down tonight and are going to hang around with us this weekend and just chill. they haven't even seen our place yet, so that should be really fun. we've done a lot of cleaning and stuff to get the place ready. it's sill lived in though, which is cool. anyway, i really need to go do the laundry.

you've been so busy lately
that you haven't found the time
to open up your mind
and watch the world spinning
gently out of time

Thursday, January 06, 2005

hot damn!

or how my head phone extension kicks ass


so after months of trying {see previous post here} i have finally been able to complete my hi-fi set up. im currently sitting on my couch, enjoying a cup of coffee, while listening to 88.1 on my headphones straight out of the quarter inch jack on the front of my sweet new receiver.

it's a early to mid 70's SONY model with everything i needed. I have it set up on the ground undernearth my mid 50's ZENITH mahogany console, with all the speakers and the turntable wired to it and out of site. with my handy headphones extension that i picked up today i can easily travel to the very ends of the living room, over 20ft of private listening pleasure. i love it.

lets all get together and bitch about needles

so after basking in the glory of my predawn work on this set-up, i placed the first disk on the deck to enjoy the moment. 'girl from the north country' from dylan's 'nashville skyline' came through the two 12's and six tweeters crystal clear. i was luxuriating in the sound. i poured myself a shit faced #7 {good morning! remember 'don't look back' drew?} and slumbered my sleepy way out to my chair on the front stoop. there i listend, smoked and enjoyed my 'coffee' as bobZ worked his way through side one. it was everything i have been waiting for. then i listened to side two, then i put on a rory gallagher album i picked up at lovells for .99 cents the other day. then, disaster struck

my needle got all wobbly and started skating across any vinyl i sat down on the deck. curses flowed from my mouth, along with some bile, and spittle. it was not pretty. the lack of the turntable is why i am listening to jazz right now via the radio, instead of one of the myriad of lp's i have picked up over the last couple of months in anticipation of this day. need i mention the late fifties, japanese atlantic import ray charles album i picked up at amoeba? or 150 45's i have sitting in my office! so close, far away.

on jazz

right here seems like a great place to post something on the monumental genre that is jazz. that intention listed; i need jazz/samba on vinyl, and i would really like to have it's younger brother getz/gilberto as well. time to save up my tips from starbucks. anyway i should drink some more coffee now, and get going to bed. i'm driving amanda to work in the morning, so i'll be getting up at 5am. time to get along.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

i would burn a pelt tonight [though fire wood is king]


in my last post i think i mentioned a little bit about the heating situation in our place, or sort of lack there-of. it got me to thinking about fire, and other ways to create warmth. i've come to some conclusions.

wood is king koopa
burning wood is the king of heating a space. it's the oldest, most storied form a heat since flesh on flesh, or stuffing your injured jedi friend inside a tauntaun.

there's no other way that i would prefer to use for creating warmth, than log blazing for long cold hours in a fireplace or a wood stove. i actually prefer the wood stove to the fire place. though you miss out on the visual effect of flickering flames, i would rather have to open a door and shove another log inside, than part a chain screen and drop one on. there's just something to a box full of fire that is so awesome, it's like stoking some sort of steam train, but this big metal box doesn't go anywhere.

don't be fooled by imitations

there are a lot of people out there that would have you believe that other types of stoves or fuels are the best. there's the damned easterners who drive up the price of fuel by burning all that 'heating oil' during the winter. grow some back bone people! stop depending on the middle east for it's oil, the delivery man and his hose connected to your house, and chop some damned wood! you will probably get into better shape cutting it, stacking it, and carrying it, then you can fit into your shiny car, and afford to eat a few more krispy kremes.

then there are the people who have pellet stoves. can you find those in nature? owl pellets maybe, but who wants to burn something full of vole bones and that smells that way. besides, pellets are really small and you need a lot of them. wood comes in convenient sizes, and can be shaped to fit your needs.

if nature didn't want you to burn wood, there would be more bogs

then there are the folks that burn peat. those poor drunk sons of bitches. i love being irish, but only we could have figured out, in our continual stuper, that if we just dug of that slimy ground, we could actually burn the shit. to bad it won't make you drunk at the same time. i remember being in sligo, towards the north end of the republic, and they still burn peat there all the time. beautiful town. yeats was from there. maust and i walked a long way out of town, then looked back, only to see the air a nice blue-black color. and we thought the air was bad here in LA. sligo was industrial revolution ohio valley compared to our indian smoke signals.

pelts and why i would burn one tonight

driving home from work tonight i saw two or three full grown coyotes on my street. i was glad to come home and find my little emma kitty inside, safe from the beasts. how i wish i had a beater pickup, or i would have tried to run them down. then i would trow their carcasses on the fire, and stoke it with hewn wood, until every kitten theiving bone was burned to ash. i hate those coyotes.


as per my previous post about the new shoes, im returning them. too much effort to break them in, and i don't think they would ever be as comfortable as they should be. so im exchanging them for some other sweater shoes. i'll update about that when they arrive.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

new shoes

new shoes

so i got some new shoes in the mail today. whenever i buy new shoes, i usually try and either buy them in person, or go to the mecah of online shoe shopping... zappos. they have everything. they ship to you for free, and ever give you a free return shipping label incase your new kicks aren't fittin right.

the shoes are a little small, even though i ordered the 12's. but they are leather driving mocs, so they should stretch out as a i wear them in. nice and comfy.

other than the new shoes, not much going on. i have to work tonight, and amanda is at work right now. i'll be going to pick her up real soon here. it's still raining and really cold outside. i wish we had a bigger heater here in the house, but it's okay with the just the small one i guess, even though you can only heat one room at a time.

amanda and i went and saw the life aquatic with steve zissou yesterday. i liked it a lot. i think i liked it more than tannebaums, but that will play out over time. i also removed the christmas tree from the house today, it was getting pretty dry, and christmas time is over anyway, so it had to go. it looks pretty funny sitting in the green recycling trash can though. a nine foot tree in a four foot can.

anyway im going to get some more coffee and maybe a donut before i take off. late

Saturday, January 01, 2005

a long time ago or how george lucas' filmaking is in a galaxy far far away[and that's bad]


so i've been poking around inside the guts of my special widescreen boxed set of the first star wars trilogy, and i've got some thoughts.

i started out with 'the empire strikes back', which has always been my favorite of the original trilogy. so i popped in the dvd and decided that i would go ahead and listen to the commentary. The voices of Lucas, Director Irvin Kershner, Carriie Fisher and a couple of other great guys you've never heard of.

let me make it clear that irvin kershner is a f*cking idiot. i can't even begin to describe to you the furry inside of me as i listen to his comments about the movie, the characters, the way they did things. he's pandering to the lowest common denominator here. comments like "this is a fairy tale, and the best fairy tales are the ones where the people are believeable" or, "this is dagobah, where we find the philospher-sage yoda!". No shit sherlock, am i an alien in the third grade who doesn't know what cinema is? i hate you irvin kershner

on george lucas's ticket straight to hell

how can a man, so idiotic and full of crap, produce something so beautiful as the original version of star wars, only to miss the anachronistic elegance of the things, to go back and ruin it later. i can not even begin to describe how pandering and silly his comments are in addition to kershner's.

on being a dissapointed man/child

even though they made it, i wont let them ruin it for me. star wars is awesome. it will always be awesome, as long as we don't throw out the beautiful baby of the original trilogy, with the bloated, bearded and fluffy haired billionaire bath water.

the very best parts of the commentary were the hack stuff, the sound stuff, tech garbage and the emotional actress stuff. Ben Burtt, Dennis Murnen and Carrie Fisher are the saving grace of the commentary track, but only the diehard fan can sit through 30 mintues of kershner/lucas gay-fest to enjoy a 20 second comment from fisher, like so:

"i had rented my house from Eric Idle in London, and they were shooting the 'life of brian'. He came home one the nights that we were shooting, so he brought home from there what i believe he called 'tunisian table cleaner' which was a beverage. they gave it to the extras in 'life of brian' to make them be happy. and harrison came over, and the rolling stones came over. i think we stayed up most of the night, and then went to work. so when we arrived in cloud city, we were very happy to arrive there. it's one of the few times in all the films when we are all smiling and smiling and smiling. eric to this day is still proud that he has effected on of the scenes this way"

carrie fisher, if you are out there, i know you're cynical that george didn't let you wear a bra in 'a new hope', and that you had to shoot 'empire' on a glacier in Norway, but it's all been worth it for this last comment. i love you