Cool things

We rearranged some furniture a few weeks ago here, and ended up with a big space in the kitchen. We wanted to put a table in it, so Nathan and I went to the local Goodwill. There were no tables of that size to be bought, but on the way back, as I drove us along East Street, Nathan spotted a table just sitting out in a yard by the curb. Upon further investigation, it turned out to be a stereo console, vintage 1980s, with an AM-FM radio, turntable, and 8-track player. We asked at the house there, and the people were indeed throwing it out. Now, this thing is seriously awesome, and probably cost a pretty hefty amount when it was new. Nathan and I carried it a few hundred yards back to the house (it wouldn’t fit in the trunk), and installed it in its place in the kitchen; it fit perfectly. Inside it were several terrible 8-tracks, such as “Polka Party” and “Chet Atkins: Pickin’ Nashville”. We couldn’t get the 8-track part to work, but oh well, at least until we get better tapes. It also came with a 7-inch record of Jimi Hendrix playing “Gloria”. The turntable was confusing at first, but with the help of the included user manual, we figured it out, and got it to really play Jimi, with awesome sound quality. So, not only do we have more table space when the top is folded down, but we now also have a fully functional record player (and AM-FM radio) with a sweet stereo system. Everyone in the house thinks it’s pretty much the best thing ever. Lizzie said, “I’m so glad it’s a part of my life.” So am I. And through this boon, we’ve also discovered that records gravitate toward a record player: everyone who’s heard of our find seems to have some old records buried away somewhere, or know someone who has some records, and they all plan to bring them over to EcoHouse sometime. So the console is also a great community builder! I bought some records at Goodwill for it today at 79¢ apiece: some Beethoven, the Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofé, and Feets Don’t Fail Me Now by Herbie Hancock. (Trivia: Herbie Hancock went to this college.) It is a source of great joy.

A few weeks ago, Ben (you may recall him from previous years) and I walked to the local ice cream place, Dari Barn. He wasn’t hungry, but he did say their funnel cake fries looked good. He also admired their little collection of figurines in the window, and, since he has a small collection of gnomes (that is, two), he mentioned that a gnome would go perfectly there. This he said while the girl at the counter was taking my order, and she asked if he would bring a gnome. She offered to make a trade: she would give him an order of funnel cake fries, if he would bring them a gnome later. It happened too quick for him to think, and before he knew it he’d agreed to give them a gnome.

Well now Ben was in a jam! He didn’t have an extra gnome to give out: he only had two, and they were both very close to him. Their names are Miguel and Rudyard, and he hand-painted Miguel. So he would have to find a new gnome, which wouldn’t be as easy as it might sound.

Fast forward to yesterday. I was going to Goodwill to replenish my stock of sweaters, and I decided I should buy Ben a gnome to give to the Dari Barn people. The only thing I found was a terra cotta gnome-shaped candle holder, where you put the candle inside, and the gnome’s eyes and mouth glow an eerie color, presumably (I never lit it). I bought that today, and tonight we walked again to Dari Barn. It was much colder than last time, and with a stiff wind. We brought them the gnome, but none of the same people were working, and they seemed pretty puzzled as to why we had brought them a gnome candle holder. They were prepared to accept it, but they weren’t nearly as awesome as the girl who’d put Ben into gnome debt, and they weren’t enthusiastic about the whole situation. On the other hand, Ben really wanted to keep the gnome. Eventually we decided that he would enjoy it much more than the Dari Barn people, so we ordered with normal money and kept the gnome. Now he’s going to paint it too, and name it, and eventually I’ll go to his room and find it illuminated with gnomelight.

File under: irrelevancies, friends


Reply

Anonymous

History

I finished my four years a semester early–graduated, got married and started teaching school midyear. I was barely 21. If I had it to do again I'd stay the last semester and enjoy the relatively easy life of a college student longer. But I was in such a hurry to grow up. I hope you stay and enjoy your full four years. You deserve to have it. Grandma

Reply

Anonymous

History

Some observations:

1) Console stereos date to the 1970's and they sounded like crap back then, but have to admit it would be awesome to have one to plink around with

2) I would trade a box of gnomes for just about anything edible.

3) Train tramping sounds fun, I am jealous.

4) Don't be afraid of debt. Uncle Sam already spent a few hundred thousand of YOUR dollars. Just pretend it's monopoly. They do ha ha!

dave

Reply

Anonymous

History

Regarding your trivia comment, here's a piece to add to it: I sat next to Herbie Hancock in Grant O. Gale's freshman physics class! (I was a sophomore, Herbie was a freshman.) He was serious about majoring in physics at the time. But we all knew he excelled on the piano and would become a pro. It was a much better choice for him in the end!

Aunt E.

Reply

Oxtrox

History

First, It's sounds like your pizza's were vegetarian.

Second, the console hi-fi was a great piece of furniture back then, that about sum's it up on console hi-fi's. (except that they were anything but "hi-fi!")

Third, your sentence in Japanese was greater in length than the English version, that's an inefficient use of pixels, FINALLY the Americans are more efficient than them damned Japs!

Fourth, don't worry about the debt. Tracy and I are still paying on hers. Yes, we could have paid them off long ago, but the interest rate is low enough that it makes sense not to pay them off too quickly. Debt is a way of life in all developed countries. It's just a matter of making smart decisions when taking on debt load. Often times, taking on debt can be a very wise decision. Student loans is just one of those situations. We can discuss debt at length face to face over the holiday's if you want.

Reply

Chuck

History

Wow, Aunt Ellen, that's pretty awesome. I'll have to mention that to everyone nearby whenever the subject of Herbie Hancock comes up. Do you do that?
-I took a guess on this one—I guess I got the decade wrong. But it doesn't sound like crap. It's got better sound quality than all our modern speakers, although that's mainly because they're small. This really was a high-end stereo system. I'll take a picture sometime.
-The Japanese sentence was longer in pixels than the English one because I don't know the kanji for a lot of it yet. However, it's also nigh unreadable at this size, so I'd probably have to make the type a couple sizes bigger for real legibility, and then English would win out again. Oh well. I won't defend Japan's writing system, which is hilariously inefficient and difficult and doesn't befit a country of Japan's level of technical advancement.
-The pizzas were in fact vegetarian. Thes was partly because there are a lot of vegetarians here, and partly because I didn't have any meat.
-As for debt: I figure if I can lighten my load, why not? The early-graduating plan that I mentioned up there still involves me being in college for my full four years—it's just that the last semester I would be taking a really light load, and living off campus. Like I said, though, I still haven't even worked through the logistics to see if I can even possibly do it. Graduating one semester early would save me 15 grand, which is a pretty significant amount of money, and even if I spend a bunch of what I saved housing myself and paying for maybe an extra class or two (you can only take one at the alumni rate, and after that they cost some $100 apiece), I'll still be up about enough to buy something keen like a world vacation or a keen used car, or more likely just pay off my student loans sooner. Just because debt is a way of life in developed countries doesn't mean I agree with it. Look at my agreement rate with the rest of the ways of life in developed countries.

Reply

Anonymous

History

The gevernment already spent you into massive debt, your share is well into the hundreds of thousands, which I don't agree with.

Debt will be a good thing when inflation hits. Your 15k college debt will be small taters. Default or massive inflation. Just think Germany in the 30's. The dollar could be the next peso!

Once you are at the masters level, your ticket will most likely be paid anyway.

Dave

Reply

Oxtrox

History

True, the government, mostly republicans (hehe) spent America into debt. YOU don't have to take responsibility for it, nor do YOU have to pay for it. Everyone in America has the choice to pay taxes in America or not not pay at all. If the going gets to tough here, just move out of the country and leave the debt behind. Seriously. Your true survival training may actually be your foreign language skills, not how to live on grubs and tree bark.

Reply

Anonymous

History

I hope you don't ever have to do that, but Dan's right about the foreign languages. Where is it written in stone that English will always be the de facto world language? Americans are SO ignorant of other languages, and someday that's going to be a big deal. Grandma

Reply

Hit Enter twice for a new paragraph. You can use asterisks to make *italics* and **bold**, and you can make links like so: [link says this](and goes to this address). Other fancy formatting possible via Markdown. (More)