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March 08, 2003

Another Utopia Founders At the

Another Utopia Founders

At the inlaws this weekend. Sainted Wife and Aspiring Actress are in the den, watching Sweet Home Alabama. I thought about watching it with them, but the packets were singing their siren call, so here I am. That, and Murphy Brown has a big role in the movie. I don't mind Candace, at least not in the way I mind Richard Gere, but the characters she portrays always annoy me.

Richard Gere is just instant boycott, no questions asked. He could star in the Star Wars/Star Trek/Babylon 5/Battlestar Galactica crossover, and I would be like "Sorry, not interested." Everything he touches turns into chick flick bathos, and I just don't need to see an emotionally open Jedi captain of the Enterprise. I don't care if is he is being chased by Cylons.

So, they're occupied, and Nana and G-daddy have taken Ngnat to the playground swings, leaving me free to indulge in whatever geek thing I set my mind to. Which, at least for a little while, is not surfing the Internet looking for blog material. Got some of that already, in the form of a 1940 Philco Console Radio, model 40-180, that the Aspiring Actress retrieved from a defunct downtown Charlotte company somehow, to put in her new loft. Here's a pic of one;

I'm jealous, needless to say. I might have been slightly less jealous if she hadn't gotten it for free, or if the original radio wasn't still in there, or it it didn't happen to be an american art-deco standard. Not that it would match anything in the house, or that we even have room for it. I figure getting it to run again is the next best thing.

The only things obviously wrong with it, aside from the vacuum tubes, which I assume have got to be shot by now, even if they are all present, are the electrical cord and the eight Bakelite station buttons on the front, which looked like they've been chewed by something. They're also missing six of the little stick-on labels that specifed which pre-war station they tuned into. The remaining labels are all for stations in Bluefield, West Virginia, so it's even conceivable that this radio was once owned some relative or other of the Sainted Wife and Aspiring Actress, both sides of their family having originated in that locale.

At this point ten years ago, I would have been S.O.L. I don't know nuthin' about repairing no radios, Miss Scarlett. How in god's name would you go about finding Bakelite buttons for a particular Philco radio model in 1993? Unless I had been living the antique radio restorer's life for at last a few years prior to that, I wouldn't have had a clue of even where to start to look. And, as tempting as the antique radio restorer's life was for a single lad in his twenties then, I had not been living it.

Now though, there's not only the The Philco Repair Bench, but PhilcoRadio.com, with its hundreds of links to restorers and replicators, not to mention the Philco Gallery. I could probably have the radio restored and running in a matter of days now, and be free to pursue the next geek fancy to catch my eye.

That feels so.....wrong, somehow. Once upon a time, in order to be a geek, just like with any other calling, one had to commit a certain amount of time to it just to be able to function in the geek environment. Think how long it took just for you to know what "42" meant. Now, along with everything else, that has sped up, too. Instead of months spent in the company of like minded antique radio enthusiasts, not to mention the months it would probably take just to find those people in the old days, I spent an hour with Google. Now I know more about antique Philco radios that 98% of the people on the planet. If that's not geeky, then there's no such thing anymore.

Of course, according to Sainted Wife and Aspring Actress, it is geeky, so perhaps I should abandon my dream of Google turning everyone into compulsive obsessives.

Posted by Bigwig at March 8, 2003 05:29 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
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