Sunday, January 1, 2017

Watts Happening!

Arlo loved to listen to late-night radio, long after the rest of us had gone to bed.  I would get up in the middle of the night, look downstairs, and see a light under his door.  He liked to listen to far-off stations, like XERB in Tijuana, Mexico, with Wolfman Jack.

 Arlo & I used to put together crystal set radios, mostly for the novelty of being able to produce our own radios.  They didn't pick up much signal, but they were fun, nonetheless, and magical, when we heard real stations broadcasting over our creations. Never mind that they sounded distant enough to be broadcasting from Mars!

Arlo enjoyed messing with electronics, in spite of numerous mishaps with electricity.   One memory that stands out is when he was about 11, and I asked him to test some Christmas lights for me.  When he plugged them in, a huge spray of sparks flew out of the socket, sending my brother reeling back with several loud shrieks.

On an unrelated note, sparks flew another time, when one of my brothers lit a Piccolo Pete on the kitchen stove, to bring back outside (we had run out of matches!), which went off prematurely on the kitchen floor.  There was a black hole in the tile from then on.

Arlo's interests in electronics and radio continued; as an adult, he was a licensed electrician, and radio host for KMUD radio in Humboldt County, California, which he started, and which continues to this day.  Arlo also hosted the "Environment Show", with current news about recycling, clean energy, and environmental issues.  He was instrumental in helping save the Sinkyone Wilderness from massive clear-cutting and development. 

Arlo hosted his own music show, called Random Axxes, for many years.  It didn't hurt that my brother was also a musician, who interviewed many famous musicians and others through the years, on his show.
  Each show had a web page that Arlo built himself. 
 The name of his electrical repairs business website was "Watts Happening". He used Hunter S. Thompson's line: "Electricity is neutral. It doesn't want to kill you, but will, if you give it a chance" on his website and ads. 

Arlo built his own computers, what I called: "Franken-computers", back when most people didn't have them in their homes.  I often wonder what he would be doing today, as he was always ahead of the crowd.  His "spark" of interest as a child led to his vocations and passions.  I think he'd continue to be an advocate of alternative energy, and other ways to protect the well as continue to be the town electrician, and musician.  For more about Arlo, go here:

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