Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Radio Jerk International

It all started with a tweet from Kevin McDougald of The View from Seven:

Source: Twitter and the CBC

Being an occasional shortwave listener and CBC fan, this CBC story interested me.  The thought of owning a piece of Canadian broadcasting history,  as impractical as it was, really appealed to me.  I started daydreaming about what I'd do with the transmitter if I bought it, but stopped myself when I started seriously considering it...

Kevin has been following my antics for a while!  So, I decided to share a story I've never shared:

True story

I received the shredder in '08 when I acquired a lot of equipment from a shuttered dotcom.  I had to barter a truck and crew to move it into my garage, because it was that huge.  It's largely irrelevant to this story, but makes for an interesting side note.  I was going to commission a plaque that read "got mielke?" to mount on the unit, but not many people would have gotten the joke...

Our story would have ended there, a what if that had been a brief blip in my imagination, if not for my old buddy Derick of Around This Town fame:

This, of course, got me thinking.  What would happen..?

Well, nothing, really.  We don't have the resources (or space) to repair and maintain the unit, let alone run it... but let's pretend.

Imagine this popping up in your rss reader or blogroll:

The GimmeSomeMoney campaign has been a huge success.  Not only did we raise enough to pay for the transport, installation, and repair of the transmitter and antenna, we also prepaid the first year's lease on the new broadcast site in Headingley.  All the legal stuff has been taken care of, and our first broadcast as Radio Jerk International will take place at 0200 UTC on 7310khz.

Contrary to popular belief, we will not be bringing back Maple Leaf Mailbag as we are not affiliated with Radio Canada International, nor do we have the rights to do so.  On the same token, no, we have not coaxed Peter Mansbridge out of retirement.  These are false rumours spread on social media.

It's certainly an interesting thought.  I've toyed with the idea of running a pirate radio station over shortwave in the past,  Lord knows I have the equipment and rebellious streak to do so, and the possibility of running my own independent station (legally) is intriguing.

It's also a lot of work and, despite my enthusiasm for the media, shortwave radio is as dead as Telex on this continent.  There's also the chore of producing content on a regular basis, which would be an issue considering I can't be arsed to update my own established blogs on a regular basis...

I could always sell radio time to carefully screened clients.  That'd be fun for a while.  I'd sell time to all the left-wing nuts, anti-conservatives, and hippies, just to balance out all the right-wing nuts and ultra-conservative "religious" types so prevalent on AM and shortwave these days.

Yeah, that would be fun for a while, but it's just not me.

You got the radio frequency from a friend.  14426khz usb.  Sure, this archaic technology was a pain in the ass to set up, but since the demise of Net Neutrality and ensuing crackdown on independent speech online, this is the only way to hear the latest word.

You plug the radio into the line-in jack on your PC and fire up the decoding program.  After a few minutes, a series of odd clicks and digital noise bursts break through the static.  A message slowly appears on the computer screen:

Conceit and Sociopathy
On Slipping the Leash, part three
February 11th, 2018

If I actually did buy the transmitter and restored it (myself) to its former level of functionality, I would probably misuse it.  Seriously, I would probably use it to broadcast blog posts, missives, zines, propaganda, and subversive texts as radio faxes or SSTV images across the world.  Legally or otherwise.  24 hours a day.  My stuff and others.

That sounds a lot more like me.

So, if you had a powerful shortwave transmitter at your disposal, what would you do?  Let me know in the comments!  Winner receives online validation from myself!

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Perpetual Self-Improvement Game (part three)

Happy New Year to all my readers, spammers, and bots!

Now that the holidays are over and we're winding down, it's a good time to go over my New Years Resolutions.  Hell, as I'm in the middle of a series on self-reflection, it's the perfect time!

I've been thinking about the changes that need to be made, where I'd like to be (and more importantly where we want our family to be), changes in philosophy, etc, and the interesting part is that we don't really need to make many changes.  By and large, we're on the right track, but still have a few things to sort out.

Some of the things I'm working on:

1.  Get Fit.  As in the first part of this series, I'm still tipping the scales at 230 lbs, which is not my ideal (doctor wants me at 200).  I don't drive as much anymore (opting to take the bus), but also ride my bikes whenever I can.  We also want to take more walks as a family.  Hoping to shed the 30 lbs by this time next year.  Speaking of bikes:

2.  Ride my bikes more often.  I spend more time tweaking, cleaning, building, customizing, and reading about bikes than I spend actually riding them.  I've commuted to work on occasion (17 kilometers each way) and would really like to do it more often.  Ditto for exploring the little-seen parts of the city.

3.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose.  This is a no-brainer for me, as I tend to repair or repurpose things rather than throw them out, or at the very least recycle them properly.  Of course, I can always do better.  To this end, I'm finally going to make an effort to learn to solder electronics.  I have several electronic items that need repair (chiefly my Japanese MSX2 computer), most of which requires desoldering old components and soldering new ones.

4.  Plan for retirement.  This is something I have neglected for far too long.  I have twenty-two years 'til retirement, assuming a retirement age of 67 (also assuming I live that long).  The original plan went south during a particularily difficult period, but now that things are back to relative normal, it's time to get back on track.

5.  Reduce my stress level.  This is something I've never been good at doing.  When I was younger, I used to thrive on stress.  Hell, I was a stress junkie!  But I'm not as young as I used to be, and prolonged periods of stress wear me down.  I've learned to relax a bit, and am at a point where I no longer feel a constant need to be doing something, but could use more de-stress time.  Thankfully, we have a sauna at home (came with the house, bourgeoisie FTW!) that I really should start to use...

6.  See my extended family.  I have aunts, uncles, cousins, and now several second cousins I haven't seen in years (outside of social media).  It's about bloody time we reconnected.

7.  Be a better neighbour.  We've been in the neighbourhood for two-and-a-half years, and we don't really know our neighbours.  Should really make an effort...

8. Be more engaged socially and politically.  I got tired of politics twenty years ago and have been largely apolitical since.  Unfortunately, I've since realized that being apolitical is a privilege at best, a cop-out or excuse at worst.  There's far too much going on these days to be lazy and lackadaisical, and we're letting the assholes who fart the loudest drown out the rest.

So, that's about it.  Nothing I can't handle!