Today 25Match2023: Saturday

I am writing this Sunday morning as I was exhausted Saturday night and went to bed early and woke again at 3AM to realize I had taken my meds; oops. I could not take them so close to the morning.

I worked on the radio project a bit, even when tired. I copied the face place of the old 1940 police radio on my color printer and then tried to fit it to the display by cutting some holes in the copy and inserting the needle meter into it. That looked good, but the large display removed most of the details. I will have to photoshop the original to keep the look and make room for the new electronic.

I read more Grey Mouser and Fafhrd stories reaching the novelle-sized tale of the heroes facing the Adept (Adept’s Gambit, 1947, found in the collection Swords in the Mist). It is one of my favorite stories in fantasy. In this story, the heroes’ personalities are explored, and their ally, an alien wizard, provides comic relief. Unlike the other longer stories, this one is set in post-Alexander ancient earth in the middle east. It also has just the slightest hints of comic horror. I still nodded off and will have to finish it later. Paperbacks for these stories are $6.50 and less (used).

Before this, I was in Portland playing board games at the Lucky Labrador after finding a table directly under a light. I have a Czech pilsner, the beer is excellent (it is Portland, so that is true in most places), and the food has improved to top-rated for their limited menu; I have a great BLT sandwich. We get extra napkins and manage to not damage my copy of Vindication with greasy fingers or beer. Corwin is with me in Air Volvo, while Evan is driving his car and meets us there.

The beer and food are great; I will use that as my excuse for inattention and placing last. Corwin, who had not played for a few years, still had the rules down cold. He was near the Arcane Tower location (all locations are randomly placed as the players explore the island) and had a companion that reduces the cost of Artifacts found at the tower; thus, Corwin had three artifacts by the end of the game worth a pile of honor points and gave him all sorts of superpowers. Corwin and Evan both fought monsters for another pile of points.

The end conditions changed, and soon the game ended before I got the points I needed to win. Evan had to leave, and Corwin and I were tired. We packed up, I paid the bill, and we arrived at the Volvo Cave without incident. Corwin loaded one of the spare office chairs in Air Volvo’s cargo hold, and we then traveled to his house (he rents a room) about a mile away, and Corwin took his new chair. I returned home and, as I said, had a short night.

Before this, we all met at the movies to watch John Wick 4, another shoot ’em-up film. Susie was with us for this. She was happy to get out and watch her man, Keanu Reeves, play her favorite assassin. It is also one of Corwin’s favorites, and he went to the others with us. Thus, it was good to keep some things unchanged in the crazy changing world. Next, Evan met us at the theater. The movie is 2:45 long, and I thought it was a bit bloated, but Susie and Corwin think I am all-wet, and this might be the best one (I really like number 2). My suggestion, if you still do theaters, is a small drink. I made it through the movie.

Corwin was late with me waking him with the phone. He managed to be ready at 11:10. We rushed then to Susie’s, who was ready; Anassa told us that Susie was excited to go, and we then met Evan at the Tigard Regal for the noon show, just getting there as the previews would start. Despite the website saying there was a showing, the theater was closed. Damn. Off to Bridgeport Village for 1PM (our backup time)–we got there in time for the 12:20, but Evan was planning on 1PM and was not yet there, so we did the 1PM.

With some spare time, we explored Bridgeport outdoor mall. There is considerable reworking being done. The mall discovered we live in the PNW and not California, and now they are adding roofed pavilions with friendly fires for heat. Before, there was a fountain and chairs that were always wet. Better.

We had to use a kiosk for tickets and then found our way to theater 9. Evan found us later. Corwin got the supplies, and Susie had some diet coke and a few bits of popcorn. The movie was great. Susie was happy with my lifts as I used the lift belt (Susie does not come with handles).

Evan returned to Portland while we returned to the hummingbird house in Portland (Tigard) at 9925 SW 82nd. Ave. Portland (Tigard), OR 97223; phone (503) 246-4116. Susie was yawning, and her butt hurt (three hours on a padded wheelchair is about her max). We called Leta, Susie’s mother, and they had a pleasant visit on my iPhone with FaceTime so they could see each other. Susie was yawning and needed to get out of the wheelchair, so it was a short visit. We left Susie with Jennifer and Lewis to get her something to eat and likely a rest. I called later, and Susie was sleeping–a good day.

Before this, I was up and not needing to write the blog since I wrote Friday’s story on Friday. I was tired as I had trouble sleeping. I finished the dishes, did laundry, made liberal coffee (finished only one cup), and worked on my radio project. I purchased yesterday some 320 sandpaper (for finishing work, fine grit), took the wooden box of the 1940 police radio on the deck, and sanded the finish. Someone, likely fifty years ago, had repaired the water-damaged radio by repainting it with a dark stain and replacing tubes (I could see the newer vacuum tubes when I took out the guts). Some of the veneers are coming free, which looks very old (the stain was done to hide some loss). Thus it is best, I think, to try to remove a bit of the mess from the painting and will use some steel wool to get a thin layer off of the surface. I will replace the lost veneer, reglue the original loose stuff, and repaint it with another stain.

For breakfast, I had cottage cheese with smoked paprika and sea salt and the remaining peaches from the can I opened yesterday (they don’t last very long once open).

I had trouble sleeping Friday evening/Saturday morning. I had worked on my radio project’s electronics and could not make the LCD work. I use an excellent component from Sparkfun that runs on just three wires. I use serial communication to run the display; I have used these for years–so lovely. However, I had the same problem I had with these before. I was getting random characters on the screen. These displays connect to 5V for the lighted display but communicate with 3.3V, which matches my setup. The Arduino Pro (also from Sparkfun) is a 3.3V version (there is a 5V version that runs twice as fast) with available 5V, regulated this time to stop the blue smoke, that powers the amp and now the LCD. On Friday night, I also connected all the screw mounts on the main frame board and these to power, ground, and the Arduino. I plan to have the speakers and switches mounted on boards to place in the radio and connect them with screw contacts. This will remove some of the rat nest looks of the prototype (the one I use in my office every day) and allow this new one to be mailed to its recipient (the LiPo battery will have to be delivered by another means as it is illegal to mail a hand-built system like this with a LiPo in it–for all the obvious reasons–fire or explosion) as all the connection will be strong.

As I said, I could not sleep, so I got up at 2AM and fixed the LCD issue after reattaching all the wires and reloading the code. Success! The LCD is perfect now. I also copied the code to another file (Arduino IDE is not smart enough to use GitHub and Fork) and began developing new features for this current (and the next radio). My new screw connectors from Amazon should arrive today; I am out, and since a box of them is $8, but the components are sold for $1 each at Sparkfun, I ordered a package from Amazon.

Aside: The Crosby 515 Radio, ruined inside, is from 1935, and I have the schematics for it (I have a book with every radio from 1926 to 1938). It uses four vacuum tubes, a rectifier tube, and a transformer to make three sets of power AC, with one line just for the light and two to drive the rectifier to feed the speaker. The 120 AC is then routed into the main frame (!). Nothing here is really safe. I will not be rebuilding this death trap.

Thanks for reading.




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