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Home » ARTSY FARTSY » JEAN SHEPHERD Kid Stories–HAM RADIO & (90) ARTSY–La La Land

JEAN SHEPHERD Kid Stories–HAM RADIO & (90) ARTSY–La La Land

More “Dots & Dashes”

So, by the age of thirteen I would sit in class in eighth grade and I would send code to myself by the hour, as I’m reading something—say, a geography book—I wouldn’t read it, I would send it to myself.  I’d actually hear it in my head.  The dots and dashes of the words.  As a CW man, it got to the point when all of my world was bound by the sound of this language.

I was heading toward getting an amateur radio license, which had become an unbelievable hang up for me.  I would carry my technical question-and-answer manual with me in every book I had.  I’d be sitting in a study hall, supposed to be studying history, and stuck in there was my orange and black Q and A book, and I’m constantly thinking, ask yourself as if you didn’t know it:  What is voltage regulation?  Give me a definition of poor voltage regulation and a definition of good voltage regulation.  And what percentage of deviation in voltage regulation is allowable under the law?

All the rest of the kids around me were living such an innocent world.  They were going to movies and watching cowboy pictures, and I was concentrating on voltage regulation.  I was concentrating on:  Give the technical difference between a Class C amplifier from a Class B1 amplifier.  Which is the more efficient?  Why is a Class C amplifier used in RF applications and a Class AB amplifier is not used in RF applications?

It just began to pack my head all the time.  At night I was lying in bed trying to go to sleep and I would hear in my head endless coded groups floating in out of the air around me.  I’d hear commas for no given reason.  How would you like to spend an hour in bed quietly trying to go to sleep and you’re hung up on the sound of a semi-colon?  That, friends, is fanaticism.

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artsyfratsy 10010

 La La Land

Los Angeles has never interested me. It’s a land of goofy fads, Beach Boys adolescent sun and serf and sand, and the sidewalk where celebrities stick their hands in wet cement. It does have, nearby, David, a lifelong friend I hadn’t seen in decades, and his wife. Eventually, they’d take me to see a special Picasso exhibit, the Getty Museum, Venice, and a place to dip my big toe in the Pacific.

I was visiting La La Land, all expenses paid, on a Museum business trip to study a traveling exhibit I’d be designing for our museum. I’d stay with my good friend David and his family.

But, to be sure I’d see two important sites, as I got in the taxi upon arriving in La La, I asked the driver to take me to those places before he dropped me off where I’d be staying.
tower-ceramic-walls-2

56-262410-simon-rodia-3-2

Eventually the driver found Simon Rodia’s

Watts Towers and he waited while I  looked.

      •  

Then the driver got me to

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House.

hollyhock-exterior

02_2015_hollyhock2-91-0

From the Hollyhock garden, unexpectedly,

distantly, I saw the SIGN!

tiny-hollywood-sign-2

I hadn’t cared to see it but I couldn’t un-see it.

Besides, I admit, I am also a tourist.

Yes, some of us ARTSY folk are New York snobs.

ARTSY ARROWS0010

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