Monday, October 12, 2015

Day 2127

I was industrious today. I found someone in Los Angeles who can repair my broken watch winder and I found someone right in my own neighborhood who can repair my multi-track tape recorders. The broken recorder is housed in a five foot tall 19" equipment rack that served as my recording studio for many years. I thought it would be an easy job to unscrew the recorder and pull it out of the rack, but I was wrong. When I removed the screws from the front panel, the recorder wouldn't budge. I pulled the heavy metal cabinet away from the wall and looked behind it. It was only then that I remembered the countless hours I spent carefully bundling the maze of interconnected wires and cables together and securing them in place with zip ties. The installation looked neat and tidy, but it had been built for permanence, not convenience. I had to carefully cut the plastic zip ties and remove all the wires connected to the recorder before I could extract the machine from the rack. The whole process took two hours.

I looked on Google to see if I could still find instruction manuals for the equipment in the audio rack and was surprised to discover that some of it had acquired vintage status over the years and was quite desirable. This gave me an added incentive to fix the broken stuff, but I still don't know if restoring the studio will be worth the time, effort and money it is going to take. All this equipment represents a moment in time that has passed. I probably wrote and recorded at least a hundred songs using the equipment I was disassembling today. The last tape I worked on was still in the machine. It was dated February 17, 1986. The label on the tape was printed using a dot matrix printer. The Internet, blogging, and almost everything I do today didn't even exist back then. Maybe all I'm trying to save are the memories.

I feel the same way about film. I used to love taking pictures on film. There was an art to getting the exposure just right. You couldn't fix things in Photoshop. The whole process of going into a darkroom and coming out hours later with wonderful images was absolute magic to me. I never felt the same when I made the inevitable transition to the digital world. I use Pro Tools and Avid Media Composer to put commercials and videos together now. I'm a wizard with Photoshop. There is no magic in these digital tools though. Elvis has left the building. I have a few friends who have embraced this brave new world, but it's not for me. Give me an analog tape recorder, a 4x5 Sinar camera, and an IBM Selectric typewriter and I'm a happy camper.

Actually this is a lie. Give me these old things and I'm not happy at all. There's nobody left to fix them. Keeping vintage equipment running and properly maintained is a giant hassle. I used to know lots of camera repairmen, watch repairmen, and tape machine technicians. For the most part, they're all gone. I bet it will take over a month just to find the rubber parts to fix my tape machine. I have friends who used to collect vintage watches who have given up the hobby for these reasons. If it takes two years to get a watch fixed, what's the point in even having it?

Old dogs are hard to fix too, but at least they provide companionship. I was happy to see that Dash was steadier on his feet today. I don't know why today was a good day and yesterday was a bad day, but I'll take any good day I can get. Maybe Dash is learning to pace himself better. He walked slower today and didn't limp nearly as much. I'm doing a better job of keeping him from scratching the ground after he pees too.  Tomorrow we go back to the vet for another evaluation. I have a feeling that we're going to have to see an orthopedic specialist, but we'll see how tomorrow goes.

Kuuipo is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day