That Radio

I can’t remember when I had bought that old radio, a GE model no.3-5636A with dual tape decks. It says “1976” in the embossed plastic lettering on the bottom, right next to the Indiana customer relations address beneath the slightly larger “Made in China”.Its certainly not that old. It has the remnants of the grey oil stain with which I slathered the house back when mom and Ned were still living here. That memory, if correct (most are pretty fuzzy recollections, especially when it comes to these trivialities) would place it around 1994? I have painted the house since, but I’ve been more careful with my electronics since then and there’s no other painted indications to aid me. What remains of a sticky accident I had with grape juice years ago still sits in the hollows and crannies of the radio’s casing. The juice has congealed in those hard-to-clean areas and caught years of dust and created a sort of permanent coating in all the crevices and corners. I know I bought the thing at P.C. Richards in Middle Island (on Rt 25 just West of the lake), I have a distinct memory of that. In fact, I remember that I had bought a different radio and it broke somehow. I forget how, perhaps I even helped it, but upon presenting the manufacturing defect which had ‘obviously’ caused the problem, they granted me a new one without argument. I was overjoyed by my good fortune at finding an honest retailer and I pledged my future patronage of their establishment. Shortly thereafter, the new one broke in a similar fashion. Disgruntled, I remember going back to demand my money back which totaled all of $48, pretty cheap for a radio even then. They offered to let me pick a comparable one in exchange, and thats how I ended up with this one. I have had much better luck with this one!

You can tune the radio portion of it by turning the plastic knob on top, good old tactile analog tuner. I always maintained, at least to Cathy, that its tuning capabilities were somehow superior to all the other radios in the house. I can get WUSB (90.1FM Stony Brook) on it, and that’s about the only station I really enjoy besides the various flavours of NPR (National Public Radio). In fact, it was the bluegrass show on USB that inspired this strange rant. There’s a switch on top which reads ‘Bass boost’ which is always kept in the ON position, because with that switch off, the thing sounds so tinny and weak it might as well be inside a locked car with the windows rolled up. The antenna, though still totally functional, is now missing the little metal cap that used to reside at it’s tip in order to protect the eyes of the careless listener. I always meant to get a new cap and somehow affix it there so the radio would again be “whole”. Until that time, I don’t let Emily play with it without supervision. It can be powered by batteries, though it only accepts that unpopular “C” size that you never have around (at least not in sufficient quantities). I remember going through several rounds of them lugging this radio places far from AC current, usually Cathedral Pines or just out in the backyard. Although it is just an inanimate hunk of plastic, aluminum and electronics, this radio has served me well and will remain here enshrined.


I kept hearing the word ‘sureal’, and I suppose that pretty much sums it up. I had been in one of the twin towers and looked out over the city. The thought of a terrorist attack wasn’t much in the public consciousness then, although there had been a (failed) attack on the building in 1993 and I’m not too sure about the date, but I believe a madman with an axe was running rampant in the observation deck around that time as well. It was pretty ‘sureal’ then, when word came at work that a plane had crashed into the building. I was in a sales meeting with Toh, Peggy, Mike Leek and Deven when we heard about it. Jack’s satellite TV, so much an un-nessessary excess at the time, certainly came in handy. Then there was word of other tragedies. The pentagon (not a tragedy, really?), a downed plane in PA, camp david, rumours of an attack on the state dept (later found to be false?). The horror of those poor souls on board the fated flights. Just when you thought, “well, thats it, now to deal with it”, another shock would come. The United States was not supposed to be susceptible to terror like this. I fear now that this may force us into a war that no-one really wants but that we’ll have to support just the same. I fear for my friends that may be missing in the rubble of those massive towers of steel (and coworkers like Joe Beltrani who may be among the missing 200 firefighters). I fear for Emily.

Em report, TI-85

Emily took her first nap in a real bed today, since she has realized that she can easily scale the gate of her crib. She’s a real little girl now. Cathy is reading to her on the bed now, she’s in her jammies and has her pooh bear and blankie, and seems very much into just hangin out on her new bed.

Probably one of the more useful things I learned today had to do with using my TI-85. The TI-85 is a graphing calculator I had to buy in 1994 for Calculus 1. It wasn’t the latest and greatest even then as you can tell by the raised lettering molded into the plastic case that reads 1991 in tiny, almost invisible letters, now almost completely obliterated by scratches and knicks. But it is still a standard tool in a lot of schools (once you get something into the schools, you milk it!) Besides, there’s a lot of support on the net and great freeware utilities and add-ons for data gathering and such. The screen isn’t that great, and it uses an old Z80 processor which has been around since the late 1980’s at least, but I finally learned how to do something on it that I have been completely unable to figure out which makes it a lot more useful: I was so frustrated in Structural lab on Tuesday (Prof Davis) when I was taking data points and then couldn’t simply plot them on my calculator. It seemed ridiculous that I had a graphing calculator and yet couldn’t easily graph stuff!

As it turned out, you can use [2nd LIST] to edit and name a list. These lists are available in the [STAT] menu where you can [Edit] and choose one to take the place of the xlist (independant) variable and edit the ylist variable for the dependant variable. Once a table of values is ready, [EXIT] and choose [DRAW] where [SCAT] and [xyLINE] will plot it up for you. This is so cool, since there are many times when you want to do some data gathering on the fly and see results in a graph and using this its easy. I was at work some months ago and Neocles wanted to do that and asked me to bring the calculator, but I hadn’t a clue at that time!

Don Piper Situation in NYC

Left the house at 7:30 to swing by the bank and get cash, I was taking my time, because even though I knew it would be a better idea if I took the train in, it would be a lot more convenient to drive the hour or so to the city and I was purposely dawdling so I would get to the train station and miss the train leaving me no choice. However, when I got to Ronkonkoma station, the train was still there, and I decided to park and get on (still thinking it might leave me there on the platform and then I would still be able to drive in with a clear conciense). The doors began to close just as I got onto the platform, and I figured it was fate so I hopped on.

Continue reading “Don Piper Situation in NYC”

The universe is flat and other stuff

I found the following links on tonight and thought you might find them interesting (as an aside, I found it interesting that the Journal Nature has a website and you can read it online)

Original Nature article (link dead in March, 2008)

Pared down BBC Synopsis

Seth, Aron, Ned and I went to go see the Mets play the Cubs last weekend which was a lot of fun. We also almost got hit by Eric Young’s left field foul off the fourth pitch of the game (it hit a girl two seats up instead – who was helped out of the stands, but later came back to watch the game with an icepack plastered to her head.) Then we parked at Ned’s and took the F over to the village and saw three different bands on Bleeker Street for Seth’s bachelor party