Guess Who Got a New Toy?

And by "new," I mean obviously lovingly and gently used.

It's no secret among my friends who are into audio that the Technics SL-1300Mk2 turntable has been my go-to deck since I bought my first one new back in 1978. It has its design flaws that I've discussed previously, but it was the one inanimate thing—along with the rest of the stereo (I am a child of the 70s after all) that I wanted out of the house immediately after the fire.

That is not to say I've only had eyes for the 1300Mk2. Back around 2005 I started thinking maybe it was time to retire the old girl and get something new, and to that end I investigated the legendary 1200Mk2. While I was sorely tempted and actually had the funds at the time (they were still quite reasonably priced at about $500), I just couldn't tear my self away from the digital readouts and—lets face it—the nostalgia that accompanied the 1300Mk2.

That's not to say I took my eye off the 1200Mk2s completely. When Technics discontinued the line in 2010, my heart sank a little, as I knew the opportunity to buy a new Technics direct drive turntable had passed me by. Yeah, there was always the used market on eBay, but as the years passed and the demand went up, the price for used units went up and the condition of the tables that were for sale took a nosedive. And yes, there were a few "new in box" units available, but the prices were up in the stratosphere.

But even fifteen years on, I still peruse the auctions, saddened that 98% of the units for sale look like they'd been ridden hard and put away wet. My friend John—who used to repair these turntables for a living—warned me not to buy any 1200s that had lived their lives in use as DJ equipment.

In the interim of course, Technics reintroduced their venerable 1200 series with new models containing updated technology, but at prices way more than I was willing to pay. (To be honest, I probably would've gotten a Mk7 if it had been available in silver; sadly it was not.)

So that's why when an ad appeared on eBay early last week offering a two-owner-home-use-only 1200Mk2 for sale at a very reasonable price, I jumped on it. There weren't that many people watching the auction, but I still brought my sniping skills to bear in the final seconds of the auction and walked away a very happy man.

The deck arrived today and I'm ecstatic. Except for the dust cover that has some scuffs, it looks—and works—like it was brand new.

Marie Kondo might ask, "Does it bring me joy?" I can say unequivocally that yes Marie, I does bring me joy. And after the last three months—hell, the last year—I think that's something I could use.

Released 43 Years Ago Today

Sphinx: Sphinx (1978)

Under the name Sphinx, Alec R. Costandinos and Don Ray released an album with two side-long tunes, Judas Iscariot and Simon Peter, telling the story of the betrayal of Christ. Judas features some monk-like chanting, and a pretty simple ascending and descending theme, but as usual it goes through a bewildering series of tranformations, including what sounds like a bouzouki duel, before climbing to a rousing finale. It's also a good case study in how Costandinos keeps the rhythm section pumping out dance beats no matter how overwrought the orchestra gets. Simon Peter explores similar territory and about seven minutes in, it breaks into the most furious, kick-ass disco you're ever going to hear.

Much like Costandinos' work with Cerrone on Love in C-Minor, I was initially unaware of Don Ray's contributions to this album, but upon subsequent listening it's obvious.

And no doubt because of the subject matter, I don't recall ever hearing it played in the clubs. I only stumbled upon it because it appeared in a full page ad in Billboard Magazine along with Costandinos' other work.

My Kingdom for a Good Night's Sleep

With the defeat of Donald Trump, we were sleeping better. But then the fire happened and our life was upended. And subsequently to that the older of our two dogs has developed a very annoying habit.

He wakes up anywhere from 2 to 4 am every night and demands to be let out to pee and fed thereafter. He's always been an early riser (typicallly 5 am), but since his trip to the vet in December to address his congestive heart failure and the issuing of medications to combat it, he's gotten earlier and earlier. The vet tech tells us the meds are to blame.

Ben and I trade off taking care of his needs, and for the most part we can get back to sleep rather quickly thereafter, but we've really come to look forward to the weekends when we can sleep in significantly past our usual 6:30 am wake up time after taking care of this daily routine.

We've tried everything: benadryl, melatonin, making sure he empties his bladder before bed, even feeding him before bed, and it makes no difference. Like clockwork the low level growls start just as we're entering the deepest part of our night's sleep.

Bobo is not going to be with us that much longer, a sad fact we've come to accept, and we will miss him mightily. But now we're worried that his early-morning feedings have also imprinted themselves on our younger dog so that even after Bobo has moved on to greener pastures, Sammy will have adopted his bad habits. Fortunately Sammy is still at the point where he can be told NO and it sticks.

It's ugly.

I think I prefer the beard-in-progress Castiel. But I'd pay to watch Cas and Dean give each other beard burn just with their 3-day scruff…