Thursday, September 20, 2007

Busy week

Sorry for the radio silence; it's been a busy week, with James sick with a cold AND having to go to CHEO for a dental cleaning - not a good combination. He was so drained after the ordeal he wouldn't let me stop at the grocery store for milk, so we had to struggle through breakfast the next day with nothing but coffee cream for Dean's cereal.

Today I was caught up in a frenzy of cooking - yesterday I'd picked another 2 quarts of raspberries, so today was jam-making day (probably the last one). Emma is so crazy about raspberry jam, she could eat a jar a week, so I figured it would be a good investment to make another batch of jam to stretch out over the winter. Then, once the jam was done, I had to make a big pan of brownies in honour of Yin's first birthday.

The other thing that's been occupying me this week is old telephone repair. Thanks to The Bovina Bloviator, I found my way to a very informative site on old telephones, of which I have a small collection. I haven't gone to the trouble of trying to find really rare ones, but I like the old rotary-dial ones, especially the wall phones, and this summer I got a box lot of 3 or 4 for a dollar at an auction, and thought it would be nice to see if I could get them working. Thanks to this website, I found wiring diagrams of the Northern Electric 550 desk phone and the 554AB wall phone (I have 2 of each). Some of them were set up for party lines, so the wires had to be switched around to make the ringer work. Lo and behold, it works! I've gotten 3 of them converted to the modern modular wall connection, and they all operate correctly - I'll work on the 4th one tomorrow.

I had one failure - an old pushbutton avocado green phone I'd gotten a few years ago. It worked, but the ringer wouldn't operate. AFter trying everything they suggested, I had to conclude that the bell was really broken - the little cylinder battery attached had some marks on it, that made me think it might have gotten wet at some point, and I couldn't get it to operate. It's not worth trying to get a replacement part - finding another old phone would be much cheaper. As it happens, James and Thomas are in a Fireman Sam craze, and James has been pestering us to get him a real fire bell, like they have on the show. I saw that the bell inside the old phone looks EXACTLY like a small fire bell, so I pulled it out and gave it to him to play with. The rest of the phone I just threw away.

Now that I've got them working, I'm going to install a wall phone by the basement stairs, and another one in our bedroom. Oddly enough, cordless phones just will not work properly at the front of the house - I don't know why, maybe it's that there are electrical lines running down the street out front, and we're actually in view of the main hydro towers that run just 2 blocks away from our house. Maybe it causes enough interference that the phones don't work, but we always have to take a call and run to the back of the house to be heard. I just want a proper ground line phone in our room, which should be immune to all that interference. Of course, it has one heck of a ringer, so I might want to turn the volume down - hearing that thing go off in the middle of the night would produce the old Sylvester-the-Cat-clinging-to-the-ceiling effect.

This week I discovered a blast from the past on YouTube - an old TV series from 1983 called "Wizards and Warriors" which I absolutely LOVED. It was short-lived; I looked it up on IMDb and was astonished to see that they only made 8 episodes. Dungeons and Dragons was very popular at that time, and this was inspired by the game. Someone posted the opening credits on YouTube, and now I begin to remember why I loved it. First of all, it had the most impossibly handsome villain I have ever seen - a Canadian actor named Duncan Regehr. (When I asked my sister if she remembered this show, she immediately answered, "Oh, yes, and the incredible crush I had on Prince Blackpool!") The the other thing I realized was that the theme was very enjoyable. Once on the radio I heard some music buffs playing a game - they played obscure TV tunes, and tried to guess what sort of action the music was accompanying. They actually did pretty well, correctly getting the impression of armies marching, spaceships swooping, tragic lamenting, etc. 'Wizards and Warriors' sounds exactly like knights on horseback, swordfighting and daring escapes.

Maybe it will come out on dvd some day. Funny how those hairstyles from the 70s and 80s have really dated. You never watch old movies from the 40s and think, "Wow, look how silly their hair was!" I was always having my heart broken when TV shows I liked would just disappear - 'Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers' was another one that barely lasted half a season. It was a sitcom from the 70s about musicians in a symphony orchestra - very original, and I don't think anyone has used that idea since. Of course, it wasn't popular enough to last. Sigh...

4 Comments:

Anonymous ellie m said...

Oh. My. Gosh. Wizards & Warriors!! Does that ever take me back...

I, too, had a hopeless crush on Regehr. It wasn't just the looks, it was the eyes... the voice.. the presence. I think he still does the odd bit of acting now & then. (If you're a Trekkie, you'd have seen Regehr play Beverley Crusher's phantom lover in the TNG episode "Sub Rosa." Mmm!!)

8:18 pm  
Blogger Daniel Muller said...

Old telephones! Cool!

5:29 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

ellie: I know...wasn't he just so...so... I'll have to try to find some of his other stuff. I'm sure I saw the Star Trek TNG episode, but I just don't remember it. You're right - the man had presence. He was the one you had to watch in every scene.

8:43 am  
Anonymous Mrs. Falstaff said...

I don't remember it, it must have been on a channel we didn't get (I'm sure I'd've watched it had I known about it). There's nothing quite so dated as dated special effects, though, is there? And the princess' hat - words fail.

1:15 pm  

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