The Neighborhood

Posted July 8, 2018 by oldereyes
Categories: feeling older, movies

Tags: , , , , ,

neighborhoodWhen my wife Muri and I were looking at our current house in Anaheim Hills, the owner told us it was a very friendly neighborhood that frequently had neighborhood block parties.  My Inner Curmudgeon didn’t see that as much of a reason to buy the house and I was inclined to agree.   But otherwise, the house was just what we wanted so we bought it.   Here we are, 17 years later and there hasn’t been a single block party.  The neighbors are friendly enough but not in a get-together-for-the-holidays kind of way.   Consequently, on Wednesday we were having a minor case of the All-Alone-with-Nothing-to-Do-on-the-Fourth Blues.  A movie is always a good place to escape the blues on a hot California day but, as usual, our choice was limited by the fact that we see a lot of (too many?) movies.  Limited to Jurassic Park Episode 132 or Won’t You Be My Neighbor.   Hmmm.  CGI dinosaurs or Mr. Rogers.   WYBMN had unbelievably good reviews and I’d rather have a sharp stick in the eye than another overdose of CGI, so Mr. Rogers won out.   But I have to admit, the thought of an hour and a half of Mr. Rogers gave me pause. Read the rest of this post »

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Independence Day

Posted July 4, 2018 by oldereyes
Categories: feeling older

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3dflags-usa1-3I consider myself a patriot. A right-leaning but moderate patriot. I believe that which way you lean … right or left … has nothing to do with whether you are a patriot. In part, being a patriot means truly believing that the way you lean … your political and moral compass … is best for the USA.  That, however, is just a start. In this country, acknowledging that others have a right to believe differently … and say so … is also a condition for being a patriot. As a patriot, I want to post something for our nation’s birthday, something positive, or at least hopeful. Not easy, watching what is going on in my country these days, both sides yelling and calling names. Just out of curiosity, I looked back at Bud’s Blog over the last nine years and found a post, Independence, from five years ago.   We had a different president and a different party in charge, but my message applies just as well today.  In part, it said this:

declaration I got up this morning and read the Declaration of Independence in its entirety, not just the beginning that we all find so stirring. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Stirring. To my embarrassment (blush) as I read on, though, I realized I had never read the whole document, even though I’ve stood in front of it … in some awe … in the National Archives.

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Monday, Monday

Posted July 3, 2018 by oldereyes
Categories: curmudgeonly rants

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mondayThe weekend rolled to a close with Mrs Eyes nervously studying for her written drivers license test on Monday, and both Mr. and Mrs. Eyes taking cold showers because the water heater wouldn’t heat water.  Hmm, is it still a water heater or just a large useless tank full of water in the garage?   We’d have to wait until Monday to find out when the plumber was scheduled to come sometime after lunch.  Because Mrs. Eyes had an appointment to renew her license Monday morning at 10:40, and being the wonderful husband he is, he agreed to keep her company.  Appointment: a fixed mutual agreement for a meeting.  From the California DMV website: Welcome to the DMV Appointment System. For faster service, please schedule an appointment before visiting a DMV field office.  Seemed sure we’d be home by 1:00 pm to meet the plumber, right?   Wrong. Read the rest of this post »

Fidelity and Philosophy

Posted July 2, 2018 by oldereyes
Categories: music, spirituality, technology

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This is Part Four (and the conclusion, finally) of a post on the journey of my music listening from high-fidelity to mobile phone earbuds and back again.  You should probably go back and read Part 1 , Part 2, and Part 3. Or not.  If you’ve stuck with me through four parts, thank you.  I hope you learned something … I certainly did (which, of course, is one of the reasons I write).

AGPTEKAs of Father’s Day, I was the proud owner of an AGPTEK H3 HIFI High Resolution Lossless Digital Audio Player and a pair of 1MORE Triple Driver In Ear Headphones.   Anxious to try them out, I installed a 128 gB mini-sd card and loaded my music collection, mostly stock MP3 files.  As I mentioned in Part 3, high-resolution  audio should be regarded as a marketing term.  Case in point: my player can’t play in high-resolution unless the music files are … and MP3 files are not.  Still, the difference from my phone and basic earbuds was striking.  Acoustic guitars were crisper and clearer, drum beats were sharper and orchestral passages didn’t sound as muddy.    Since the source was my MP3 files, the improvement in the sound he heard is due to high-quality electronics in the music player and the quality earbuds, not so-called high resolution or even better file formats.  But it does speak to the improvement in fidelity that better equipment can provide. Read the rest of this post »

Fidelity and Resolution

Posted June 30, 2018 by oldereyes
Categories: feeling older, music, technology

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This is Part Three of a post on the journey of my music listening from high-fidelity to mobile phone earbuds and back again.  You should probably go back and read Part 1 and Part 2.  Or not.

earbudsAt the end of Part 2, I was listening to music stored in the MP3 format on my smartphone, happy as the proverbial pig to have my music portable where I could listen as loud as I wanted.   But I kept seeing articles about high resolution audio online.   Neil Young, of all people, made a passionate plea to save music through his high resolution  player and streaming service, Pono (since abandoned).   Other articles sing the praises of so-called lossless compression formats like FLAC and ALAC.  On Amazon, I found pocket devices claiming to be high resolution music players ranging in cost from $25 to almost $4000.  Even given the tendency of audiophiles to equate high cost with high fidelity, that seemed suspicious.   Suspiciously, too, I can find articles claiming high-resolution audio is anything from audio Nirvana to practically a scam.  So just what is high resolution audio?
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Fidelity (Part 2)

Posted June 24, 2018 by oldereyes
Categories: music, technology

Tags: , ,

This is Part Two of a post on the journey of my music listening from high-fidelity to mobile phone earbuds and back again.  You should probably go back and read Part 1.  Or not.

CDThe early 1980s brought a revolution in the form of the Compact Disc, popularly known as the CD.   According to Wikipedia, a CD is a digital optical disc data storage format that was co-developed by Philips and Sony and released in 1982. The format was originally developed to store and play only sound recordings but was later adapted for storage of data.  Suffice it to say that digital meant the music was stored at exactly the value recorded in the studio and that optical meant the music was read with light … no needle to scratch the surface or gradually degrade the fidelity.   CDs were smaller than vinyl records and durable, too, making them suitable for cars and portableindex players.   When recordable versions appeared, CDs quickly supplanted cassettes and gradually displaced vinyl, too, a music companies delivered more music on CDs only.   CD players appeared in cars and in portable units.  Not everyone was happy … some audiophiles lamented that music from records sounded warmer or more realistic.  But the tide had turned digital even though some hardcore audiophiles insist vinyl sounds better.  Older Eyes added a five disc CD changer to his music system. and his CD collection grew.
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Fidelity (Part 1)

Posted June 22, 2018 by oldereyes
Categories: music, technology

Tags: , ,

This (probably) three part post requires an introductory explanation. For Father’s Day, my wife Muri bought me a High Resolution Music Player and a pair of audiophile quality earbuds. The quality of the sound is astonishing, reminding me of the way music used to sound before music moved from large music systems to phones and earbuds. This is a (probably geeky) retelling of that process in my music-listening life, with perhaps some old-guy philosophizing at the end.

IMG_7786When I started listening to music, there were two popular forms of recording … 45 rpm discs, popularly known as 45s … and Long Playing or 33 1/3 rpm discs. High quality recordings and players capable of reproducing the sound at a level of quality commensurate with the recordings were termed high-fidelity, or hi-fis for short. Of course, exactly what constituted hi-fi depended upon who you talked to. The Magnavox TV and Music Console in my parents living room was (according to the brochure that came with it) hi-fi but the group of sound equipment aficionados known as audiophiles would find that hysterical. Butw-5m our stereo was good enough for me to develop what would be a life long love of music. In high school, I built a 25 watt Heathkit amplifier which I combined with a set of cheap speakers and a turntable, my first component hi-fi. Audiophiles were still laughing. When i got married in 1968, I bought my first serious system, a Yamaha receiver and turntable and a pair of Heath speakers. Read the rest of this post »