Sunday, November 25, 2007

Old School Radio



My mother-in-law gave me an early Christmas present that I find very intriguing. At first, I didn't know what it was, but a closer look at the dials revealed it was an AM/FM radio. However, the style was 1960s, though it showed no signs of wear. Well, it turns out to be a bit of old and new put together.

My mother-in-law won it in a drawing at the local classical music station (KBPS: not to be confused with a PBS blab radio station) and didn't really have a use for it. The radio is a Model 1 from Tivoli Audio and Henry Kloss was a designer of the radio. Who was he? Well, you can read more by clicking his name, but he is considered one of the foremost audio designers of the 20th century.

This radio with a little 3 inch speaker has a very warm sound with crisp highs and surprisingly full lows for a system with no subwoofer and only a solitary speaker. I am quite impressed. Excellent speaker technology could account for the high frequency response, but the low frequency and slight overall reverb appear to be generated by a cylindrical port (hole) in the housing with gathers and amplifies the sound.

I hooked my computer output to the auxiliary input port of the radio, and even low quality MP3s with too much compression sound much better with the one speaker than they normally would with my stereo computer speakers.

Tivoli has stereo, clock-radio, and Sirius satellite radio models available in addition to the simple tabletop model I have. If you are not into the retro look, there are more modern stylings of each model available.

Happy listening.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Cinnamon Bear!



It's that time of year again! Very soon the adventures of Judy, Jimmy, the Crazy Quilt Dragon and the Cinnamon Bear will heard in our household! (here's a link to my original post on the show). If you want a quick synopsis of the show, here's some folks in the UK with one! The most complete site with exhaustive info, and old-timey pictures can be found here. If you want to download the shows for free, (not every radio station plays it...) go to this wonderful site, where you'll find other old radio shows like Hopalong Cassidy, the Aldrich Family and The Whistler; just click on the navigation bar to the left. There's even a local company providing Cinnamon Bear cruises. It's kind of nice that kids get the chance to take their picture with the Cinnamon Bear, just like I did in the early 70's! Now I just gotta find the pictures....

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Getting Your Yearly Arlo


(From Wikipedia)


Well, thanksgiving is here again and one of the things I am thankful for is a tradition at Portland radio station KGON of playing Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant (from album of same name released in 1967) each year. According to my blog post (which, by the way, is the number one Google search if you search for "Alice's Restaurant KGON") from three years ago, the song/story starts at 1 pm Pacific Time. I tried calling KGON on Wednesday, but the office was closed for Thanksgiving.

If you are asleep or miss it at that time, a live version done about 30 years later than the original can be found at Arlo.net. It is different, but still entertaining and it has a few asides which mention more modern events.

If you don't mind registering, you can listen live to KGON here (I DO mind, so I didn't try it).

I am also thankful for all the folks who stop by Snabbytown to read our claptrap. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

THE DOOLEY DEAL

I have been seriously threatening to make this post for some weeks now. I've scanned the pictures of most of the main characters...so here goes!

Now this tale does require quite a bit of back story. My paternal grandmother grew up during the roaring twenties with her mother, aunt and grandmother, (her father having died in 1921 of stomach cancer). Her mother and aunt worked full time to support the four of them, so granma was raised primarily by HER grandmother, who taught her so well she could read by the time she was five, skipped several grades, and graduated high school when she was 16.

They thought that was "too early" to go to college, so she stayed home to work for a year, then went to Marylhurst at the ripe old age of 17 to become a nurse. She often shimmied down the drain pipe to evade bed check, and was generally a hell-raiser. Once she crashed the family car when her mother and aunt were away at the beach (at the time, there was no highway over the Coast Range, so you took the train). Her grandmother took all the money she'd sewn into her petticoats to get the car repaired before they came back.

That also tells alot about the difference between granma's relationship with her mother and her grandmother (my great-great grandmother). She didn't get along so well with her own mother, and absolutely adored her grandmother. See the circa 1939 picture above to see what I mean: My father (born in 1935) is on my great-grandmother's knee, next to her is my granma (her daughter), who is leaning towards her grandmother who raised her, with her arm around her as well.

Both great-grandmother and great-great grandmother were also VERY religious, they went to DAILY mass about 6am every morning, and didn't eat breakfast until they got home! My great-great grandmother even became incensed when she heard about a Nudist Colony opening up on Squaw Mtn, ...about 50+ miles from Portland. Great-great grandmother was so pissed, she said "if those hedonists come walking down the road, I'm going to whip them all back to Squaw Mountain!". I don't think it occurred to her that folks wouldn't be walking down 50 miles of a two-lane highway naked from Estacada (a small redneck town just outside of which is the nudist place), but I digress...

Curiously, after granma left the house, great-grandma proceeded to get married several times, four in fact, all WITHIN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH! I call her the "Most Married Catholic Woman in America". Each man was older than her, and each died, leaving her to find another old guy to take care of (my dad's theory, which I put stock in as he was witness to several memorable "exchanges" between his mother and grandmother).

And the four husbands count is not including the infamous "Mr. Dooley". Great-grandmother lived in his house as his live-in "housekeeper". Obviously, there was something wrong with his acceptability into the Catholic Church; so he was either divorced, unwilling to convert, or perhaps had more charm than his predecessors.

My grandfather (picture right) died of a massive heart attack 1953, when my dad was 18, and his brother was just 6 years old. He was in his early 40's.... Dad had to come home from Notre Dame and go to work to help out the family. He managed to graduate from the University of Portland many years later...

Now a couple years later in the 50's and granma is going out with a nice man, who happens to have a wife back in Hawaii, but they don't get along and are separated, (but NOT divorced). He also happened to be the Mayor of Rockaway (a tiny coastal town), so the whole family got to go on extended vacations at the beach while granma dated this "beau". Rockaway is still one of my dad's favorite places on the coast!

Now this whole situation didn't sit well with great-grandmother, and of course she thought it was her "duty" to straighten her daughter out. So she called on the phone to give her a piece of her mind...granma was having none of it. She yelled right back at her mother, "AT LEAST IT'S NOT A DOOLEY DEAL!!" and hung up the phone.

Now I must say my granma did finally find love again and married David Garman (who I knew as my grampa). She'd had a stroke and was partially paralyzed on her left side, but she was the best granma ever. She was always laughing, and enthusiastic about what we were doing. She had a twinkle in her eye, and left the extreme religiousity in her past as well. Here's a pic from when I knew "grampa & grandma" - don't you love the 70's style kitchen?


Love to you Dave & Dorothy Garman!
(sorry about the blurry image, there was some kind of red ink on the photo)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Amateur Jet-setting

I know some business people travel all the time, but I thought I'd write about my week all the same.

My travels took me from Portland to Denver (stopover) to Boston to Trenton to Philly to Chicago (stopover) and back to Portland. I spent two days training on a new product at a logistics company in Boston, then headed back to my own corporate HQ in Philly for meetings and general work. The work stuff is boring and also not something I want to mix in to the Snabulus Experience (that's right; we have to spin our image even here). They say that getting there is half the fun and Being There is a Peter Sellers movie and that those kinds of things are game for this blog.

I won't say much about security since the government values their secrecy no matter how vulnerable it leaves us and I respect that. I will say that it is much less of a bother than it once was and that the people working it aren't as uptight as they once were. Kudos on those things. I also realized that a palm-top computer that is as powerful as a laptop is still not a laptop, so I quit taking it out separately and nobody seems to care. Kudos again! My Darth Vader anti-snoring machine (the CPAP) still requires special attention.

The carrier for most of this trip was United Airlines. They love to fly and it shows...loving the customer? Not so much. We already had an experience earlier where we showed up first, got sent to a gate that changed being told our seat would be assigned there, then they tried to bump us from the flight even though we checked in at the beginning.

My luck was much better this time around as all seats were assigned in advance. However, the leg room for anyone over 6 feet tall is marginal to say the least. When people lean back, I usually need to move my knees to each side of the seat. This trip was no exception and I almost always sit behind a "recliner." The good news is that I have no complaints about airline food because, even on a 4.5 hour flight in the middle of a meal time, they don't give you any. Luckily, I knew that in advance.

The weather was generally cooperative for the whole trip with some rain here and there. There was nothing exceptional about my time in Boston geographically as we travelled mainly on Interstates and Turnpikes into a suburban business park that looked nearly identical to those in every other major city in America.

My only constant criticism of the East Coast is their idiotic toll road system. With a couple very minor exceptions, we budget for our highways ahead of time in the West with fewer people and more miles to pave. There is no damned excuse for this system which burns extra gasoline by making people stop and go, and turns taxation into a convoluted, high-overhead mess. More Spirit of 1776 and less Spirit of Union 76 please. Sigh.

I was able to hook up with Ladybug's sister and meet some relatives nearby. They have a nice place with good kids, good critters, and they served up some nice steaks with butternut squash, taters, salad, and some red wine. The company was exquisite as well (I hope they are blushing with a bit of pride if they read this).

The trip from Boston to Trenton set a record for me. The Beechcraft 1900B is officially the smallest commercial plane I've passenged (is that a word?). It appeared to have 18 seats, my 6 feet 2.5 inch frame crouched walking down the fuselage and every seat is both an aisle and a window seat (1 on each side per row). Being a small craft, the cockpit was open and the actions of the pilots were in plain (no pun intended) view. No flight attendants or potty room on this flight, but we only flew for about 70 minutes air time, so no big deal.

Normally on a passenger jet, turbulence manifests itself as vibrations and bumps shaking the plane. On the little Beechcraft, the whole plane would squirrel around. While we only had a couple minutes of turbulence, it was enough to alarm the lady behind me. She calmed down soon enough though. The other fun part of the trip was watching the approach and landing through the front cockpit window. In addition to seeing the runway (if you are tall enough to crane the head as I was), you can also hear an automated voice giving adjustment advice for the landing. A computerized female voice said, "Right. Right. Right." as we were about to land. You could feel the pilot make a very gentle shift in trajectory to the right. It might be old hat to Pandabonium, but this non-pilot was quite entertained by the whole flight.

I've been to the Philly suburbs several times, so there is little new to tell. If you like crab, clams, oysters, and mussels and don't mind a loud crowd, Chickie and Pete's is a nice destination. I've had my cheesesteak and my advice to Philadelphians is to keep your civic pride in the Benjamin Franklin, Constitutional Congress area because your "cuisine" is easily replicable and most places have better fare. Yo, just sayin'. No big whoop, youse.

The nicest part of my travels is seeing my home state from the air. Seeing the arid lands of Eastern Oregon transition into forests and finally to look upon the snowy flanks of our stratovolcanoes says, "Welcome Home!" in the loudest, yet most comforting voice I can describe. Disembarking onto the jetway brings a scent of ocean and wet moss that my olfactory organs have not experienced elsewhere (I've not flown into Seattle or Vancouver BC yet). Travel weariness gives way to a gladness that home and family are but a short ride or drive away.

Ladybug and Minibean surprised me by cleaning the house up and making me feel as if all was in order. I brought them some tourist booty from my travels in return. Now, I must climb back into my normal routine and start the propellers of my life at home. Contact!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

NWMBC & Verboort Update!

Ok guys, lots has happened this weekend!

***See the Update..to the Update below! (I forgot to mention the 2007 theme was "Good & Evil"...with the Beaniac one of the "Evil" minions!***

First of all, Beaniac's school team took 3rd in the preliminaries, and went on to take 6th overall in the finals (2nd in their class). This was out of 36 bands, of which only 12 moved onto the finals. Yea! They did better than they had in several years...I couldn't find this year's performance, but here's one from 2006 (they have the same uniforms for the band, but different ones for the Color Guard).




As for Verboort...it was a little different, I managed to be first in line again, but barely. In fact, I had such a late start that I was sure I wasn't going to be first...barely arrived before a couple from Pendleton! I got some free sausage, and did another interview for the local girl who's been doing a yearly documentary on the Festival for a couple years now.

The Salsa Garden folks were there, and Snabby showed up a bit later, much the worse for wear after tripping over the curb while helping Beaniac load her flags. It was a good thing too, as I started feeling pretty poorly myself, and ended up throwing up behind the big smokehouse! I left about 1/2 hour before they started selling, so Snabby got the sausage & kraut (with help from the lady from Pendleton-Thank you!). That also put an end to our plan to maybe head out to Corvallis to see the NWMBC finals.

We can look forward to Winterguard though, and that's more fun, since it's just the Flag teams and you don't freeze to death outside in the stands!

UPDATE..for the UPDATE!

Here is a video of the 2007 performance during the 1st competition of the season. I actually saw this performance, and I loved it. Well, you can't help but think everything your own kid does is the best! Anyhoo, although it's a bit rough, (sorry Moody, I'm sure you'll spot all the musical flaws..), they did a much improved version a month later for NWMBC...

Friday, November 02, 2007

Verboort Sausage & Kraut Time Again!


Hey ya'll , it's that time again folks! Where the "crazy lady" gets up somewhere around 3am to drive out deep in the county in search of homemade sausage, kraut and camaraderie! The pic here is some generic folks in line, but gives you a good idea of how many people hang out and wait in the dark for this event! Now if you have the time, the title bar link takes you to an old post of mine for more info...and if you like to read alot!

This year is also complicated by the fact our daughter's final event for Color Guard are the North West Marching Band Championships at OSU on the same day, in a town far far away! Here's a MAP to show you how far away it is! We live on Hwy 26 closer into Portland...of course all you local "Snabolians" already have an idea of our conundrum! We may have bag the NWMBC (she's riding the bus w/the rest of the band anyhoo) and it costs $15 per person just to get in! Verboort is closer and will feed us for months to come....

Now we gotta see if we can beg, borrow or steal some pics from the kid's performance....goll darn, the thought of the Gravenstein applesause that comes w/the dinner is making my mouth water again! (It's homemade too!)

Which reminds me I need to kick myself in the behind and start canning applesauce in the Fall again. Can't stand the stuff in the stores! Then all I need to do is make me some pie, and old-fashioned coleslaw...I'll have the dinner down!