Well, we’ve been in Puerto Rico for almost 3 years now. I wonder if
should change the title of this website to say, "What is Jim up to?" I
first created it so that people (parents and friends) would know where I was. "Where" isn’t as big a deal anymore. "What" is more interesting at least.
I’ve been consumed with work mostly. Business is going okay… we’re
running out of money, and things look grim. I believe the long term
prospect is very good, but we have to pull off some miracles between
now and then. Blah blah blah. Working hard, not doing much else,
Being obsessive about classical music. There’s this great radio
program called Performance Today on National Public Radio. In Puerto
Rico, it’s broadcast on a dinky little university radio transmitter. I
could only pick it up in the car. It’s a two hour program, and so I
never quite got to listen to very much of it. I sometimes would pull up
to an appointment and sit in the car for five or ten minutes while I
finished the piece like savoring a nice slice of pie. You always hate
to rush it.
It always nagged me, tugged on my self… not a waking moment passed
without thinking of a way to hear all of Performance Today. Their
commentary, music from around the world, and history lessons are so
valuable that even missing a single day is devastating. How to get that
program recorded, I pondered.
Okay, first things first. Reception is terrible at our house. I
tried small antennas, stringing them around the house, contorting and
balancing them trying to find a sweet spot. Sigh, no avail after a few
days of fighting, the static still ruined my listening experience.
Meanwhile, I had set up a special program in Linux to record it
digitally every day while I was out. At least I could record the
program, but it still sounded crappy. Since it was in digital format, I
tried cleaning out the pops and static with a little program. It
worked, albeit not as well as I would have hoped. The "cleaned" signal
was decidedly flatter than the original. No pops, but the experience of
sitting in a concert hall just wasn’t there. It still bugged me.
Bring in the big guns. I stomped off to Radio Shack one weekend to
buy a rooftop antenna. I picked up a nice big one on clearance for 40
bucks. Not bad. Bought mounting hardware, wire, grounding kit etc.,
loaded it up and motored home. Since I am impatient, and I didn’t have
time to install it on the roof, I stood it up in the back yard, strung
the coax cable through the window and connected it up. I asked Laura to
listen in the computer room to see how the music sounded while I stood
in the back yard holding this contraption over my head. "How’s it sound
"Better-fine, or better still bad."
"I don’t know, what do you consider good enough?"
I fiddled a bit more
"Oh, stop there, it sounds the best."
Groan. There I was with this thing high above my head contorted,
leaning trying to avoid the trees. I placed it down best I could
pointed it roughly in the same direction as before and went inside to
hear for myself.
"Hey that sounds pretty good. I’ll leave it like that for a while."