Friday, January 25, 2019

From This...


...To This:
...turned out pretty well...the original 1946 version was an RCA 621TS and had a 7" picture tube in it...black and white, of course...thus the color scheme for the "new" version, a tip o' the hat to how things used to be.

This one has a 7" color lcd...much lighter, much simpler, much less expensive...some paint, some clear coat, some help from Karen with securely attaching the screen while keeping it easily removable and voila...a modern TV in a vintage case...the perfect art deco complement to our guest-room-in-progress.

Here's a couple of other scenes from Casablanca, the movie that was playing when I took these pics...

"Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship..."
...best last line of a movie, ever.

Should note I ended up adding two Logitech speakers connected via the headphones jack...
...they and the power strip are velcro'd in place...sound is now much improved.

Here's what was inside the box in its truly original state:
...weighed a ton and didn't work but even so I still managed to sell the chassis for a decent price.

Held onto the case just bc it's such a beautiful art deco design by John Vassos.

Of course I didn't leave it wide open, but rather fashioned this gorgeous custom fitted back piece...
...made from the very finest piece of cardboard I could find laying around in my basement.  Note the fancy cut out so I can flip the power switch on and off...that's some slick engineering right there.  Sweet, hey?

Overall it cleaned up pretty well considering it is 73 years old, and I'm quite pleased with the results.
Making some headway on Time Slip Island...
...about 2,000 words into it and picking up steam...hope to be a fourth of the way through it by the end of this week.

It's been "writing weather" lately...Monday was 7 degrees below zero...
...pretty cold for these parts...ok, not quite that bad...but still a good time to stay inside and write by a warm fire, which is exactly what I did that evening.
The major upgrade at work continues, and of course I'm busy verifying what we send to / get back from the new warehouse execution system...but all the actual carnage...
...is taking place within the new system and so my part has been considerably easier than in upgrades past.

It's ugly at the moment but there is progress...and on the plus side, I'm remarkably well rested compared to system conversions from years past...which is to say I'm actually getting some sleep at night and not having to stay up for 24 to 36 hours straight.

I confess however I'm still adjusting to my role on the sidelines this time around...definitely a step toward letting go of this part of my working life a few years hence.
As hinted at above, it looks like Ol' Man Winter may have finally arrived to stay for awhile...
...he's not exactly welcome, but have to admit he does know how to paint a pretty picture.

And that's just about a wrap for this edition of the Atomic Monster Cafe.

We here at the AMC know you have many options available to you when deciding how to waste your valuable time and we appreciate you squandering it on us.

later, mcm fans...



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Saturday, January 19, 2019

My Current Project...

...can you guess what it is?

A television, of course...an original 1946 RCA 621TS to be precise...well, the case, anyway...don't have the original chassis anymore...sold that a while ago...and the sum total of the electronics that will go inside this gorgeous art deco case are included in the above picture.


Tune in next week for the finished product.

I'm juggling this along with the biggest systems upgrade the company for which I labor has ever attempted.

How, you ask in stunned amazement, am I able to handle something of that magnitude and still find time for what amounts to a trifling hobby?

Simple...after laboring for the better part of 35 years custom coding our information systems...
...we are finally transitioning to state of the art 3rd party software...a "black box" if you will...and since I didn't write the new system - in fact the new system is replacing much of what I wrote over all those years - my part in the actual transition is relatively minor.

If I was 10 years younger I'd be crying in my whiskey right now...but at my age the finish line for my career is finally in sight and so I'm sitting at home - for the very first time in my IT career - while a major systems upgrade is being handled by a large team of people half my age.

On 2nd thought, where's that whiskey?

But, as Papa X tells Ike, "I didn't cry about it though...wouldn't have changed anything and it's not manly."

We soldier on.
Spotted this guy at our back patio feeder the other day...
My grandson Marcellus tells me it's a "red bellied woodpecker", which seems like a bit of misnomer since it's his head, not his belly, that's red.

He attracted some attention...
...and a group of intruders joined him for a bite to eat.

Had a dream the other night...my oldest son and I were outside someplace I didn't recognize when suddenly a big brown bear came running toward us.
We turned to our right, spotted a ledge above us and quickly climbed up a tree and jumped up on the ledge.

The bear wandered around below for awhile while we watched, then started running away.

But as he did he grabbed my Sunday bag of hickory golf clubs...
...which apparently I had brought with me on this inexplicable outing into an unknown wilderness smack dab in the middle of bear country.

Naturally I jumped down from the ledge and took off after the bear at which point in my dream #1 son began yelling at me, asking if I had taken leave of my senses and for the love of chicken gravy, get back up on the ledge!

But the bear, you see, had stolen my hickory clubs and that just wouldn't do.

So I raced after the felonious ursidae, grabbed my Sunday bag from his jaws of death and then did as my son suggested, high tailing it up the tree and onto the safe environs of the convenient ledge.

I leave it to the dream weavers among us to interpret the meaning.

For me it just means don't even think about stealing my hickories.

And I wish I could walk 9 right now.
Starting to ramp up ideas for my next novella...
...Time Slip Island...well, a working title anyway.

And it's not just the heartwarming story of a boy and his dog, either.

A friend from work has infected me with hallmark-movie-itis, and I feel a strange compulsion to write happily ever after love stories lately...so right now that's what this is shaping up to be.

Stay tuned...

later, mcm fans...

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Saturday, January 12, 2019

Bought A New Tick...

...which as everyone knows...is 1930's slang for mattress or bed...King Size no less, which hopefully means I will no longer be poked with a sharp stick in the middle of the night.

Karen claims I *sometimes* snore, which I know isn't true because I stayed up all night once just to check.

But anyway she's taken to pushing / poking / whacking me with a large stick to get me to turn over and stop breathing on her..with this new bigger bed we're practically in different zip codes now so shouldn't be a problem anymore.

King Size is really pretty nice...I'm a fairly big person...here's a picture of me...
...taken at a recent "wear something inappropriate to work" day at our company...as you can see having a little more room to str-e-e-e-e-e-tch out will be useful while trying to get some sleep and dodge the various, random blows inflicted on me as I lie there harmlessly minding my own business.

Anyway, if you're in the market for a new bed, you can't do better than Zinus  That's where we got our new King Size bed and truly we couldn't be more pleased.

We'd been looking at traditional Big Box retailers and online at places like Joybird, Wayfair, etc., and were just about to buy a very nice mid century modern bed from one of them.

Thankfully my grandson and his wife told us about Zinus...we checked them out and found our new bed for a fraction of the cost...we saved well over $1000 by going with Zinus instead of what we were going to do.

And when the FedEx guy was delivering our bed he told us he had 4 more just like it on his truck...Zinus has become very popular for very good reasons.  The traditional stores and online retailers must hate them, but you're going to love them.

Check them out...you'll be glad you did.
Been mining treasure from Woody Allen's old movies lately...Play It Again, Sam (1972)


The Purple Rose Of Cairo (1985)


...and Radio Days (1987)


Watched all of them recently and all of them are excellent...and of course they all feature Woody Allen's brand of neurotic humor where he's not just ok with self-deprecating humor, he's fanatical about it.

You must have watched Casablanca first, before you watch Play It Again, Sam, to really get some of the recurring humor...but assuming a) you have seen Casablanca and b) you liked it, then it follows that c) you're going to love Play It Again, Sam.  Special kudos to Jerry Lacy, the actor who portrays the hallucination of Humphrey Bogart...
...he's dead on and hilarious as the hard boiled Bogey from days gone by.

The Purple Rose Of Cairo is simply one of the most creative movies I've ever seen, especially when taken in context of when it was released in 1985.

And Radio Days was described as the best loving tribute to a bygone era ever made...not sure I'd go quite that far, but it's great fun reliving the 30's and 40's through the eyes of a young Woody Allen when Radio was king.

Enjoy.
Still casting about for my next writing project...need to settle on one soon as I've taken to wandering aimlessly, searching for inspiration...
...but so far, no dice.

Not that I haven't kicked around a few ideas but none of them have taken root yet...don't really want to write a murder mystery but may do so just to give that genre a try...thinking...thinking...

later, mcm fans...

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Saturday, January 5, 2019

Art Deco...

...wonder...love that fireplace...enough so I think I'm inspired to design our guest room around it.

Of course at the moment the guest room is a bit of a mess, but it is heated...by this lovely mid century modern fireplace...
...and thankfully they're in demand at the moment, so guess what I'm going to be selling?

Since I have a pretty nice collection of art deco radios...



...I think I can pull off the art deco look and feel in that room.

Plus, even though I sold my original 1946 RCA 621TS television, I do still have the case for one of those beauties...
...it was actually designed in 1939 which explains the art deco lines...the war delayed its production / distribution, and by 1946 when it finally came out it was not a huge hit...in short order it was replaced, which oddly helped cement its place in history as a "rare classic".

I'm thinking of putting a 7" lcd screen in my currently empty case and voila, functioning modern TV with classic art deco looks...perfect for my guest room.

If our guests would rather waste their time watching TV than visiting with us, then they can scooch their chairs right up close to the TV and squint like they had to back in the good ol' days...c'mon, stop whining and put your back into it!

That'll teach 'em...but the TV will look great while they're doing it.

Add an appropriate chair or three...

...some 1920's / 1930's period lighting...


...and we'll be good to go...

Now all it takes is money...lots and lots of money...
While writing PMT 7 I researched World War 1 and came across poetry by a young British officer named Wilfred Owen.
Sadly he was killed in action just a week before the Armistice, but he left behind a number of poems he penned during this bloody conflict.  Owen's legacy over time has become his poetry and he is generally considered to be one of the best from that era.

Perhaps his most famous is "Dulce Et Decorum Est", a Latin phrase borrowed from a work by the famed Roman poet Horace in one of his Odes (book III ).
The full line from Horace's work is "dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" which translates to "It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country".

While not an unusual sentiment, and one that was bandied about fairly commonly in the early days of WWI, as the fury and gore of that unprecedented world conflict unfolded in all its gruesome reality, the phrase began to be seen in a different, more cynical light.

Here's what Owen wrote, describing the horrible death from a poison gas attack he and his mates endured:

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

You can learn more about this tortured soul and his writings here: Poetry Foundation: Wilfred Owens

Worth your time.
It's a beautiful - well, by January standards - sunny day here in Holland, so I'm going to get outside and swing my hickories for awhile...

later, mcm fans...

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