RIP: Radio Shack

Gone are the days where you could at least hope to find what you needed at Radio Shack. Even if you had to pay a ridiculously high price for a component, you could at least find some of the things you needed to build a project. But, not any more.

I went into my local Radio Shack today to get a stereo plug for a mic connector that I want to build. The lady at The Shack looked at me like I was stupid when I told her what I wanted (1/8″ stereo plug that I could solder my own wires on to). She took me over to the extension cables. At least she was in the right aisle of the store where the plugs would have been in the past. Trying to be helpful, she stood in my way to find this thing herself that she really did not understand. She would have been more helpful if she would have just let me look instead of assuming I was the dumb one in the conversation.

After digging around a while I realized there were very few products for build it yourself projects.

I left with the comment that I would just have to go online and get what I needed and in doing so try to put Radio Shack out of business. She joked that my leaving the store to buy online could, very well, be their demise.

While Radio Shack is probably doing well in their new business, they are no longer a friend to hobbyists who want to build their own equipment. *Sigh*

Camping trip

This week my son and I headed to the great outdoors for a couple of days camping. He has been wanting to go for a while. Me too. But we have not felt comfortable with any place in Mexico to make a go of it. I don’t mind primitive camping, but I do like to at least know what kind of animals are going to kill me while I sleep. So we waited till we got back home.

We went to Big Lagoon State Park. It is only 12 miles from where we live. But once you enter the park it seems like you are way out there.

We arrived at the campground around 3:00 in the afternoon. That is check-in time and it seemed like a good time to get there. That allowed us to have a good final lunch at home before having to eat my cooking.

We got camp set up and then spent a good amount of time trying to string up the G5RV dipole antenna for the ham radio we took along. After we got it all up in the air I saw a note in one of the camp brochures the next day saying not to tie or hang anything in the trees. Oops.

We did not do any exploring that afternoon/evening since we had to run part way back to town to get some supplies we had forgotten. There is a Wal-Mart about half way between the camp and home, so I had my wife meet us there with some things and we popped in to Wal-Mart for the other items. We then spent an hour or so enjoying ice creams from Sonic before parting ways.

After a restless night’s sleep, we got up early to put the coffee pot to use. Yes, my 10 year old drank his fill of coffee. Good for keeping you warm, not that it was too cold. I think it was 68 when we got up Tuesday morning. Not too cold, but cool enough to justify coffee for the lad.

We hiked for a good long time after a breakfast of eggs and bacon. We returned to the camp for a rest and to read a book. Another hike before a lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

In the afternoon I took a nap and we rode bikes and read books until we met up with my Dad who brought us some fishing poles and hamburgers. We ate the burgers and headed down to the seashore to do some fishing. My son caught the first fish. It was a pinfish about 6 inches long. The neighbor fishing near us bought it off of him for $1 for bait. The next 2 we caught we donated to the neighbor. We ended up with about 8 pinfish (which we turned into bait or tossed back) and the final catch was a 5 inch catfish. I must have hooked it while trying to set another nibbler. The catfish was hooked in the eye. Ouch!

Slept better that night. Was also much cooler.

Got up to 64 degree temps. Felt cooler since the wind was blowing. After the standard eggs and bacon we went bike riding for a bit. Camp was packed up in various stages of the morning. We also read for a while. Eventually we got out of there around 1:00.

In the events of the 3 days we cooked s’mores and burned hot dogs. We did some torturous things to marshmallows. Though we did not talk with anyone on the radio, we listened to people from Switzerland, Virgin Islands, Spain and Italy. We had more fun with fire than should be allowed. Probably would have had a whole lot less fun if my wife had been there. My son had fun taking hikes with the camera by himself. I was not too worried that there was a pond that hosted 3 alligators just 100 yards from our tent. Maybe I should have been. But this was a fun time to relax and not worry about the world crashing down around us. So we didn’t let a little thing like the stock market or alligators get us too worked up.

Dean II

Dean is now projected to come in quite a bit further south from us. I still hold to the fact that I think it will turn north. Which now means, that if it does, instead of turning north and brushing, or missing us, it would come right at us.

I am not sure what the projected time of arrival is. But we are starting to get elevated winds. Nothing to write home about and not any higher than normal storm winds. We are probably 5 hours away from getting rain from the storm.

The Mrs. and I had a brain storm of an idea today. I won’t tell you about it until the storm is over, just in case it wasn’t as brilliant as we thought. I will take pictures to show you after the adventure is over.

There is a good possibility that we will lose power for some time. If so I get to fire up my ham radio and get to relay information back to the US about the health and welfare of all my friends. That will be fun. I have a nice antenna that I have never taken the time to set up that I will pull out to work with. I pulled my other antenna down yesterday afternoon so that I don’t lose it in the storm.

I will probably get a few more posts up before the storm moves in and knocks me out of commission. If I do lose electricity for any extended period of time, maybe I will be able to get caught up on my reading.

Final preparations

Tomorrow morning the wheels will be up headed to California. I know where the running stores are. The general sporting goods stores. Used book store. Thrift shop. Ham radio store.

I still need to find the closest Fry’s Electronics. I also need a general computer store. That should be fairly easy to find.

I also have my list of stuff that I want to see and buy.

I am editing the next episode of Missionary Talks right now. It should be up before I go to bed tonight. That is, assuming that I go to bed.

I have to swing by and pick up my driver to the airport at 5:00 in the morning. He is loving that.

Good-Bye Tom Riley

If you are a follower of Adventures in Odyssey, you will know the name Tom Riley. The voice actor who played him was Walker Edmiston (real name: Ed Walker). Edmiston and Hal Smith were the two main actors in the original season of Odyssey who’s characters are still around. Hal Smith played John Avery Whittaker. Smith died in 1994 and was replaced by an amazing vocal twin, Paul Herlinger.

Walker Edmiston died in February. I had learned of his death shortly after he had passed away. But, today I heard a great tribute to him and his voice talents by the Adventures in Odyssey crew. Let me encourage you to take 20 minutes and listen to it. Especially if you were familiar with the Tom Riley character.

What I found out in my reading on him and his life was that he was blind since boyhood. I did not see from what age, but some wording I saw made me think he was not born blind. I did not know that he was blind when I listened to the audio tribute. Knowing that makes one of the lines he says in the program very humorous.

Since they no longer podcast the Adventures in Odyssey (I am not sure they ever officially did), I have not listened to it in a while. I don’t know how they have handled his death, or if they have gotten to it yet. He had such a unique voice, I am not sure if they will be able to replace him like they did with Hal Smith.

Just some interesting reading about Walker Edmiston:
IMDB Entry
Article citing his death
An interview he did in 1974
Wikipedia entry on Walker Edmiston
Wikipedia entry on Ed Walker