Archive for November, 2008

Night Vision

So, Dennis posted about how he almost almost almost bought some night vision goggles on Woot recently, but was talked out of it via instant messenger by his brother. It caused me to write the following story as a comment on his post. However, in thinking about it, perhaps it deserves to be a blog post on its own:

When I was in high school, I read an article in Time Magazine about how, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, old Soviet army equipment could be picked up on the cheap on the streets of Moscow. Specifically listed: $80 for night vision goggles. I went nuts. I wanted such a pair *badly*.

Then, man oh man, one of by high school buddies, Rob Madden, was taking a trip to Russia for winter break. Turned out that his cousin was NBC bureau chief in Moscow or something. I showed him the article, and begged him to get me a pair of NVGs for $80.

So he’s off in Russia, and these are the days before email, so I have no contact from him — though I do hear his voice on NBC once doing a “voice over” translation of what some Russian pol was saying.

Then, 2 days before he’s set to come home, he gives me a call from the NBC offices, and I ask:

“Did you get the night vision goggles for $80?”

“Well, they’re tougher to get these days, and I’ve been told that they don’t really encourage civilians — esp. Americans — to ask for old military equipment, BUT, I did find a guy selling some. But he didn’t have night vision GOGGLES. Only a night vision SCOPE. And it was $120 instead of $80. So I got it for myself, but thought you wouldn’t want that.”

“WHAT?!?? Of course I want that. $120 is fine! Please, please, please buy me one!”

“Oh, sorry… I don’t think I’m going back to where that guy was…”

And so, Rob came back from Moscow with a SWEET night vision scope, and I had nothing. In fact, I only got to try out his night vision scope once.


Man. It’s a good thing you didn’t IM ME about the NVGs. I would have totally gotten them.

Radio Days

As some of you know, my wife’s been away traveling for the past 5 weeks, though she’s currently driving (my car) back across the country, and I’ll be flying out to meet her shortly, after which we’ll drive around a bit, checking out the southwest. In the meantime, I’ve got way too much free time on my hands, so I’ve been killing time catching up on various things, including ripping a bunch of old CDs that have been gathering dust on the shelves.

I also found a bunch of my old tapes of IthaSka, the ska radio show I did for over 3 years back in the mid-90s. Anyway, the whole thing made me sorta nostalgic, and I wondered if there was now easy software for creating radio show-like podcasts. I’m still testing out a few different products, but there definitely are a few things out there that basically let you create your own radio program. So, here’s my first attempt.

I warn you, that this will probably only interest the 3 or 4 co-dj’s I had over the years, or maybe possibly if you happen to like ska/rocksteady music. It’s not very polished, and partly that’s because I’m really not that good at this stuff, and partly it’s because I’m still figuring out how the software works, but if you want to take a listen go ahead:

The player (from Castfire, which is pretty cool) has a download option as well, and if I actually decide to do this more regularly, then I’ll probably set up a podcast RSS feed.

I have to say that it was actually pretty easy to do this once I got it working and it was tremendous fun to be doing a radio show (sorta) again. But, it was a bit lonely. The best part of doing the radio show was basically getting to hang out with folks like Alvaro, Daisy, Scott and John (and a few other guests and substitutes) over the years while listening to great music and talking about the music and whatever else was going on in our lives. I never really enjoyed the shows when I was stuck alone at the station. It would be a blast if I can figure out ways to pipe in co-dj’s as well. There are definitely ways to do it via Skype, but it looks somewhat complicated. Anyway, it was fun (and really not very time-consuming, considering the software takes care of most stuff), so I’m hopeful that maybe I’ll try to do it again, but there’s probably a better than even chance that this is it. So… for now… enjoy.