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Monday 17 Jun 2024

Summer in the City 21
Matt Seinberg

Source: Seinbeg Family Archives

Since my surgery in May, I knew there wasn’t much I was going to able to do. I was looking forward to sitting outside under my pop-up tent and reading or listening to Jimmy Buffett, with a cold drink at my side. The thought of it is refreshing.

It was iced tea.

Before you ask, it’s usually ice water, flavoured seltzer or iced tea. Maybe, occasionally, at lunch, I’ll have a Mike’s Hard Lemonade, but that’s rare.

 These past two weeks have been so unbearably hot that sitting outside became difficult. You know the line, in The Wizard of Oz, where the Wicked Witch says, “I’m melting, I’m melting…?” That’s how I felt under the tent.

I have a nice tan, with no sunburn. I look good, but the oppressive heat hasn’t made me happy. I end up staying inside, with the air conditioning. I watch a great deal of television and read, too.

Some days, I’ll work on my desktop computer, which is in the basement. I convert old cassette or reel to reel tape air checks to digital and then edit. Since that’s a process I don’t have to be around for, I’ll let them run for two or three hours and do something else.

Awhile back, a friend gave me a box of WNEW-AM air checks that someone had sent him. They were of Jonathon Schwartz. They were cheap Shamrock tapes; I dreaded what I would have to do with them.

The first couples were okay and played just fine. After that, they all squealed like greased pigs, which meant they had to be baked. Yes, tapes can be baked at 130 degrees for three hours. This removes the moisture and resets the polymer so it can be played at least one more time.

Cleaning the mess.

The results were good, except for one or two tapes that still sounded lousy; I didn’t even bother trying to convert them. At the end, there was a big pile of tape shreds that I had to vacuum up; it was quite the mess. I also cleaned the heads after each tape because they are covered in a black film from the tapes.

I had one tape that had my friend Frank Reed on it from July 1977. It was an old Ampex cassette, which also had a reputation of squealing; this was no exception. I transplanted it into a new shell and baked it for twenty minutes. I got one good play and it sounded good.

Most hot days, as we have had, don’t let me work to long in the basement. We have the dehumidifier on 24/7; we empty it at least twice a day. The problem is the amount of heat the humidifier gives off is crazy.

If I’m working in the basement for any amount of time, I must shut off the humidifier or suffer.  The other day I tried something different. A friend of mine gave me a portable AC a couple of years ago, but it was missing the part that goes into the window; I tried to make something for it, but that didn’t work.

This time I stuck the hose out the window into the screen. It worked fine. Our basement is huge, so I pointed the hose in the direction of my work area; it felt pretty good.

Cleaning the mess.

The weather for the coming weekend is supposed to cool down, with rain on and off. Hopefully, that will allow me to sit outside and do my thing. As much as I like the summer, I look forward to the fall. If I could skip winter and summer, I’d be very happy. Any suggestions on where that would be on the East Coast that is a Blue State?

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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