I am listening to a classic solid-state amp from the 70’s. Just a couple of weeks ago, it arrived from an eBay auction in rough and partially-working condition.
I’ve lived here at Roy Creek Ranch for 22 years, with varying interest in Amateur Radio. Career was a big part of that, with little spare time each weekend before work each Monday morning. Add a 2-3 hour daily commute and ham radio just didn’t fit in.
In a former life, I worked in professional audio sales and service for a local music store. This was about a million years ago, and the store, Musicmakers Austin, is long gone. I was just recently out of college and the modest pay didn’t matter too much because I was living every musician’s dream: working as a musician — or at least in close proximity to working musicians.
Marilyn and I enjoy the odd flea market ramble, and a trip to Bussey’s in Schertz, Texas was fun. It was our first time to this meet, and we didn’t really know what to expect. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but old tools, radios or cast iron always get my attention.
About 40 years ago, Bob (a high-school buddy) and I started a surplus electronics business. We were hoping to make a little extra money and feed our Amateur Radio habit. We started with a purchase of 18,000 pounds of stuff.
I’ve been a student of piano all of my life, and have always preferred hearing to reading when learning a new piece. My piano teachers cautioned me against this approach, since reading music would open a much larger window onto the classical world.
I enjoy flea markets, and there’s a great one near Fredrickburg, Texas — about an hour from our Hill Country home. We go almost every month. Last October we came home with vintage cast iron pots and skillets, a UT Longhorn-branded Crockpot and — best of all — an old Stanley No. 5 jack plane for just $8!
With the new handle installed, it was time to sharpen. The steel was pitted from its time in the woods, but had plenty of metal and potential. With my new-found interest in woodworking, I’ve been working on my sharpening skills. I’ve tried several systems from wet/dry sandpaper on a glass plate to carborundum, whetstones and diamond plates.
I enjoy restoring old tools. It’s fun to buy a new tool and investigate the abilities it brings, but there’s something about finding an old tool, removing the corrosion and dirt, and repairing and sharpening that are especially satisfying.
I learned how to light for television about 40 years ago while working in the broadcast industry. It was an expensive and difficult affair, but the basics of lighting haven’t changed — the tools have just gotten better and cheaper. Lots of folks photos and video every day, but the addition of just a little lighting can make the difference between “snapshots” and professional-looking quality. I hear protests regarding the cost of buying lights, not to mention carrying a pile of gear around. But what if you could build small, dimmable, custom lighting to suit your individual needs for about $50?