The Curse of a Good Memory

29 01 2016

Irvine, California

The mechanics of those with elite memories.

While I have a very good memory, not an elite one, this hits me right where I live:

Viewing the past in high definition can also make it very difficult to get over pain and regret. “It can be very hard to forget embarrassing moments,” says Donohue. “You feel same emotions – it is just as raw, just as fresh… You can’t turn off that stream of memories, no matter how hard you try.” Veiseh agrees: “It is like having these open wounds – they are just a part of you,” he says.

This means they often have to make a special effort to lay the past to rest; Bill, for instance, often gets painful “flashbacks”, in which unwanted memories intrude into his consciousness, but overall he has chosen to see it as the best way of avoiding repeating the same mistakes. “Some people are absorbed in the past but not open to new memories, but that’s not the case for me. I look forward to the each day and experiencing something new.”

Veiseh even thinks his condition has made him a kinder, more tolerant person. “Some say ‘forgive and forget’, but since forgetting is a luxury I don’t have, I need to learn to genuinely forgive,” he says. “Not just others, but myself as well.”

This is why I wish I wasn’t cursed with a good memory.  I still sulk and steam and fume and dwell over both slights against me and regret the slights I inflicted on others that the average person would have forgotten and never been able to remember.  I’m still angry over at a double standard way a school rule was enforced on me when I was a freshman in high school.

Challenger, 30 Years On

28 01 2016

Cape Canaveral, Florida

I can’t say anything more or differently than I did five years ago.

How Stuff Works

2 01 2016

Your Blogmeister’s Desk

Hopefully someone who is both significantly older than me and is or was an electronics engineer can answer my question, because I’ve never been able to get a good answer to it from anyone.

How did record changers know where to land the tonearm?

Here’s what I mean.

Even in today’s vinyl renaissance, turntables are either totally manual or at best semi-automatic, that being, at the end of the vinyl, the tonearm automatically picks itself up and goes home.  However, back in the old days, there were these things called automatic record changers.  Of course my mother owned one, which was part of a Tonecrest console system, manufactured (I think) in 1968, and she had it and it was still functioning until as late as 1991.  You would queue up one or more records of the same size and speed on the spindle between the placeholder arm and an in-out switch on the spindle, (if you were queuing up 45s, you had to put a special large insert over the spindle which mechanically did the same thing), put the thing on automatic, then throw a switch.  The first (or only, if you only had one queued) record would fall down onto the turntable, then the tonearm would land at the beginning of the record (hopefully, but I know it was never a perfect proposition), record would play out, and at the end, it would fetch the next record in queue, or if there were no others, the tonearm would go home.

When I was a kid and learning the ins and outs of the thing, I just assumed that the tonearm knew where to land on the record based on whatever speed the turntable was set for.  My mother’s Tonecrest had four speeds:  33 1/3 and 45 are the usual, 78 for old records, (she didn’t have any 78s in my lifetime), and 16 2/3, half of the 33 1/3 speed, as there were some audio books on 12 inch LPs that played at half the normal LP speed, as audio fidelity didn’t matter.  The advent of the cassette killed that nascent format.  Anyway, I just presumed that if you set the machine to 16 or 33, the tonearm would presume it was a 12 inch record and land accordingly; if you set it on 45, it would assume a seven-inch record and land accordingly, and at 78, it would assume it was a 10 inch record and land accordingly.

In 1984, Hardee’s, the burger chain, wonder twin activated with Warner Brothers to advertise the Gremlins movie, by giving you this combination mini story book and record if you paid an extra buck on top of qualifying food purchases.  I loved Gremlins, and a Hardee’s was near where we lived at the time, so of course I got my mother to get all five of them.  Here was the catch:  As you can see, the record was a seven-incher, but it had an LP spindle hole, not a 45 spindle hole, and therefore, it was meant to be played at 33, not 45.  When I was playing them on my own toy kiddie record player, that was no big deal, because that was entirely manual.  And if I wanted to play it on my mother’s Tonecrest, it had a manual mode.  But what if I wanted to do the automatic thing?  I had to play it at 33, but it was the size of a 45, and I had just assumed that when set on 33, the tonearm would think a 12 inch record is on the table and land itself there.  But if I set it at 45, the tonearm would land in the right place, but it would be playing too fast.

For grins and giggles, I got over myself to give it a try.  I queued up one of them, set it to 33, flipped the switch, and bonzai.  And I’ll be damned if the thing didn’t land in the right place.  Somehow, the sonofabitch knew that only a seven-inch record was on the table, in spite of the speed being set to 33.  I repeated it queuing up all five of the Gremlins records, and it nailed it, every time.  After doing a little more experimenting queuing up 45s at 33 and 33s at 45, I had no choice but to come to the conclusion that this thing had some sort of uncanny way to know the size of the records that were on its turntable, and landed the tonearm accordingly.  Later on, I came to find out that there were some 12 inch records with LP spindle holes cut for 45 rpm, mainly classical recordings, (the outer circumferences of 12 inchers spun at 45 rpm was the best possible audio reproduction mode on vinyl, so of course classical recordings loved that medium), and some long versions and remixes of pop songs.

The only way I was able to trip the Tonecrest up was with a few vanity “vinyl” recordings that were released on paper thin bendable vinyl; for example, I remember getting such a record from Vacation Bible School.  It was around nine inches in diameter and 33 rpm.  And since they were thin and bendable, they couldn’t be queued up.  Didn’t matter anyway, because once I tried to make it play that record automatically, the tonearm went crazy trying to find a place to land, and then returned home.  At that point, I presumed that it took regular weight vinyl for the magic to work, and therefore, the way the magic worked had something to do with the way the record pressed down on the turntable; perhaps there were electronics within the table or the rubber mat that talked back to the tonearm telling it how big the record was.

I was able to confirm later that virtually all record changers were able to do this.

Okay, please, someone tell me how it really worked.

Excuse Me

23 12 2015


The rubber chicken circuit Christmas parties are over.  I’m pretty much on vacation until the start of the legislative session, except for a rubber chicken circuit New Years Eve party, and I’m actually looking forward to that because I’m really looking forward to the arrival of 2016.  Unless some salt mines emergency pops up, then my vacation will be cut short.

In the meantime, I have some brick and mortar Christmas shopping to do today.  Turns out I didn’t need an alarm clock, because on today, Christmas Eve Eve, thunder woke me up.

Seems like half the songs on the radio today are talking about snow and cold.

Defcon 2016

10 12 2015

Your Blogmeister’s Desk

Sorry for the paucity of posts in the last few days.  A combination of a relative lack of interesting news, having lots of irons in the fire at the salt mines, including the evening Christmas party rubber chicken circuit this time of year, and me grabbing a Nebraska corn harvest full of popcorn to watch the Defcon 5 meltdown from the libs/cucks, (and yes, I think they have pretty much all past gotten past denial), has been the cause.  I do have some weekend worthy news items in the hopper, but it’s not the weekend yet.

Speaking of Defcon 5, I’m hearing the next missile that’s going to be lobbed against Trump is mafia links, though that will fall flat, precisely because he has a New Jersey casino license, and you’ll be denied one of those just for having been in the same room as a mobster or gangster.

KEZK Flips

19 11 2015


Must have happened some time between morning drive and lunch.

It means that this year is almost over, and I can’t wait for 2016.  Not that 2015 has really been bad for me personally; it was nothing like 2013, an island in my own archipelago of last years I’ll probably never want to visit.  And, per the traditional curse of “may you live in interesting times,” this year has been very intriguing, with a little more than a month left for even more stuff to happen.  It’s just that I’m starting to develop a really optimistic vibe about both the near and distant future, and I think that 2016 could be one of those “years of my life” sort of years in a personal sense, like 1987, 1994 and 2004 were.

Just to Prove a Point

31 10 2015

Your Blogmeister’s Desk

Continuing with what has become a recurring theme in this space, I have created a public YouTube playlist of some of my favorite club music that I can think of just off the top of my head.  Like I’ve been saying, the quality of Generation X club music is the best ever, it blows the boomers out of the water, and I think it’s going to be a very long time before a future generation surpasses it.  So far, I don’t see anything of this quality and this caliber from Millennial club music, and in fact, they don’t do nightclubs like we did.

(I can just hear some of you saying or thinking right now:  “Blogmeister, you’ve got to me kidding.  A song simply called “Horny,” with the repetitive lyric, “I’m horny, I’m horny horny horny, so horny, I’m horny horny horny…” is quality?”  And the answer is yes.)

These songs range in years from 1993 to 2012.  A few of them some of you might recognized as pop remixes, but most of them are not.  And, because I know I’m going to get the question, it sounds like in “Born Slippy” by Underworld that one of the lyrics is “nigger nigger white thing” repeated a few times.  Actually, it’s “mega mega white thing.”

Another point I’m making here is that people like me who think this is quality music will be running the country in twenty years.  Now do you get my greater thesis?  Or are you praying for divine intervention?


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