Archive for the ‘frak’ Category

My new favorite thing!!!

October 16, 2007

As long-time readers may have noticed, I’m rather lucky about finding and acquiring interesting things– usually for free, or nearly so. I got an antique record-cutter for $2, found more than my fair share of record players, a 50-disc changer stereo, at least two good acoustic guitars, a violin, and a hand-crank turntable… The only secret I know is to just keep your eyes open, and pointed towards the curbside.

Tonight, my dedicated curb-shopping paid off big time. While asking a local homeowner if he had some rope I could use to tie his discarded dresser to my car trunk, he offhandedly asked me if I was interested in taking a jukebox off his hands– for free!

Being the well-mannered gentleman that I am, I managed to avoid giggling hysterically while jumping and clapping my hands like a Japanese schoolgirl.


Instead, I asked if he was yanking my chain, which he thankfully answered in the negative. Indeed, he was in the possession of an enormous, 100-disc-playing jukebox. It was covered in dust, but he assured me it worked, save an unidentified problem with the disc transport mechanism.

“It’ll come on if you plug it in,” he said, gesturing in the direction of the CD mechanism. “But that thing has a problem getting the disc on there. You could probably get it fixed.”

In my mind, this jukebox could have been full of dead babies, and I’d have still tried to bring it home. After assuring this fellow that I’d be right back after dropping off the dresser at home (which I picked up for a friend who needs one,) I bopped back over to his garage to wrangle this beast on top of my car.

Just so you know, it is ideal to have a pickup truck and three strong friends when moving an enormous jukebox. I don’t recommend standing it on top of your trunk, tied through the rear windows, and riding atop the vehicle while shouting half-panicky driving tips to your wife and trying to “steady” it around a couple miles worth of turns.

In other words, do as I say, not as I do.

Of course, I got it home safely. Getting it off the trunk by myself was a bit of a struggle, as I was not wanting to jeopardize my wife’s previously-shattered ankle in some sort of freak jukebox/dead baby accident. Somehow, I managed to get it down, and into the front porch where we immediately set to cleaning it.

With no dead babies in sight, the cleaning was thankfully limited to cobwebs and dust. I even found a dollar bill left behind in the bill acceptor box!

Plugging the jukebox in yielded a satisfying “thump” of the large woofers, and the bill acceptor rolling. By this time, I was pretty excited, and found a CD to try out in the machine– I figured it had better be something I didn’t mind losing, so I used Mariah Carey, whose “greatest hits” double-set sits in one of my CD storage drawers. I’m pretty sure it’s my wife’s, but she doesn’t listen to Mariah either, so who knows? DJ detritus, I guess.

Anyhow, it played. LOUDLY! I had forgotten that I had no idea how to adjust the volume, so Mariah was treating my neighbors to a late-night concert at top volume, surely frightening pets and small children for many blocks. After a bit of fumbling around the back, I found the volume button, and brought Mariah from “jet-engine” to “running faucet.”

Naturally, I was completely ecstatic by this time. The guy was wrong! The jukebox worked! But then, the transport jammed, and the machine started flashing an error message at me.

All my dreams of owning the coolest jukebox of all-time, ironically brought on by playing Mariah Carey, were beginning to evaporate as I searched “under the hood” for the cause of the problem.

Although the transport was obviously getting the signal to respond, it seemed jammed somehow. Shortly after announcing this amazing insight, my wife found the culprit– a Village People CD was stuck just underneath the transport plate, wedged up and under.

“Just yank that disc out,” she said. “I don’t care if you shatter it, it doesn’t matter.”

After a couple hearty tugs, the Village People were freed to live on my porch until next trash day. A quick re-start of the jukebox confirmed that this was the only problem, outside of dust, and a couple missing caster wheels. Here’s a picture of me, completely cheesed to be the proud owner of a second-hand jukebox:

To make a long story a bit shorter, we invited the jukebox to come live in our kitchen. It has settled in nicely, laying half its weight on a English-to-Romanian dictionary, temporarily replacing the AWOL wheels. The plan is to fill our rescued friend with tunes not ordinarily found in jukeboxes, and have a grand time making artwork for the selection pages.Anyways, I’ve definitely upped the ante for my curb-shopping. I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to top this without finding a big box of money, or a house-trained tapir… but I’m looking!

Here’s a picture of the same model jukebox, in a less-dusty condition. Otherwise, it’s exactly the same:

Strangest phrase to send your child to school with…

September 5, 2007

It’s a bit off-topic, but I thought I’d share… the strangest phrase to send your child off to school with:

This morning, I was having a conversation with my daughter (DJ Mo, remember?) while waiting for her school bus to arrive. She was describing a basic science experiment her class was performing– putting a plant in food-colored water to see how it travels up the stem. I mentioned to her how this process of experimentation was at the heart of science, and how that differed from religious “thinking,” which simply poses ideas and accepts them on faith.

The conversation progressed into a riff on science, with a lot of “what-ifs” being thrown around. My daughter told me that one idea she thought was especially interesting was to use a “machine” of some sort to put kids in, that could read their DNA and tell you what they’d be like when they grew up. I explained that while no such machine existed, that there are a number of things that could be examined to determine some of a child’s future, such as their eating habits and parent’s health.

Now, I’m pretty sure she was more interested in whether or not her brother’s hair was going to change from his rather unlikely blond to fit the rest of the family than the more questionable uses such a machine might pose, but I decided to talk with her a little about this anyhow.

I explained that some people had previously used the concepts of genetics to push for laws that would only allow “perfect” people to be bred, and to disallow others from having children. I explained that while genetics research could yield many interesting and useful results, that it was sometimes hard for some to draw an ethical line at where to stop– thus leading to the idea of eugenics. I cautioned her with the old sci-fi saw that in a world of eugenics, there might not be room for imperfect folks like us.

It’s heady stuff for 7:00 in the morning, and she was naturally a little upset to see some of the possible ramifications of her machine. As the bus pulled up, the driver opened the door. I called out after her, forgetting I was in full earshot of the driver:

“Have a great day at school, Mo! Don’t worry about eugenics!”

Upcoming– Two weeks of NOISE!

August 27, 2007

I’ve been sitting on this plan for over a month now, and the time is finally right to let you all in on it– for the first two weeks of September, “It’s Too Damn Early” will feature all-noise programming!


Being the obsessive, extreme, over-the-top person that I am; I’m not going to be playing one cut after another. These broadcasts will be constructed with large numbers of layered noise cuts, one on top of another. I’m pulling out all the stops, using every piece of equipment I can get my hands on. This means bringing in additional disc players, tape players– it will be done. Microcassette? Check! Re-routing the station signal back through master control? Check! Hundreds of tracks held together by the force of my will for over 9,000 seconds of intense noise? CHECK!

Making matters even more crazy is that the second week of September kicks off the WDBX-FM Membership Drive, so I’ll be hitting the airwaves hard with alternating bouts of abuse and begging for cash. It will be spastic, bi-polar, and completely off the map.

I am aiming for nothing less than producing the two greatest noise broadcasts of all time. You won’t want to miss either one. As always, the show starts at 4 a.m. CST, Saturday morning. I have no pity for your precious sleep schedule, so expect no quarter from me.

…And for those of you not familiar with the sound of a folded, re-routed radio station signal layered upon itself in mass reiterations, allow me to direct you to a fine recording of one such anomaly