One Summer to Every Customer

The signal returns to the source.

This weekend, over brunch, I read an article in the New York Times which discussed the Rod Serling museum, proposed for a Fall 2007 opening in Serling's hometown, Binghampton, NY. The article made a lovely, if obvious, connection between the creation of the museum and the ever-present theme within Serling's work that is our tendency, or our desire, to return home. In "Walking Distance," an episode of Serling's The Twilight Zone, Martin Sloan, a nostalgic and discontented middle-aged ad exec, goes off for a Sunday drive and wanders innocently into his hometown, wanders innocently into his past, wanders innocently into his 10-year old life, where he sees himself and his parents and his world, as if he never left, as if nothing ever changed.

By the time the water/signal gets where it's going, some of it has leaked out to the return line, so the "pressure" in the circuit is reduced. Electrically speaking, the greater the capacitance, the greater the leakage! Additionally, the longer the line (cable) is, the greater the capacitance and resulting leakage.

Martin Sloan attempts to return to his childhood self, perhaps with hopes of changing things, with hopes of making things better. However, his father forbids him: "There is only one summer to every customer." And Martin is left to settle, reluctantly, for the present.

It's best to keep the cable runs short, then, it seems. Best to keep close to the origins of our issues, it seems. I'm sometimes afraid. I'm afraid I've gone too far off course, allowed too much time to pass before returning home. But, I think I can defeat this fear. Let's see.

But all cables suffer from the so-called parasitic qualities of inductance and capacitance, and these two elements are, in fact, reactive depending on frequency. It's easier to think of it this way: capacitance absorbs signal and inductance resists signal. Plus the higher the frequency the more capacitance and inductance affects the signal. It becomes a big problem at audio frequencies.

I've been avoiding it for far too long, but I really do need to confront my father about some things. In my own recent attempts at making things better for the future, I've come to find some nagging traces of my father's presence in my past life, which are providing road blocks and causing difficulties for my present. Part of the problem is just that, however: my tendency to put the blame on him. It's not his fault anymore; it's my own. All I really need to do is talk to him about it. All I really need to do is release some of the pressure, let it go off in the right direction. Who was it, anyway, that pried Jose Quiros' angry hands from around my neck? Was my father there? Does he even know that it happened?

Since there's no way to eliminate electrical cable leakage (that's why it's called "parasitic"), one way to ensure all the signal gets to its destination is putting enough muscle behind it to compensate for the leaking and satisfy the load's demands. And there's another complication: The higher the frequency, the greater the leakage for a given capacitance. Likewise adding muscle to the signal overwhelms some negative effects of inductance.

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COMMENTS
Buddha's picture

Did he say what percentage leaks out?

Jeff Wong's picture

Stephen - I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the last two entries with the parallel shifts of time/analogies - artful blog entries, sir.

The lines I have written that you read between
The lines on the pages
The lines on the screen
Of lines spoken - I say what I mean.
It's parallel lines that will never meet.

Buddha's picture

I usually run about one day behind on understanding or picking up on certain things. Stephen, you seem a little down, you're imagery has taken on a distinctly melancholy after taste. I hope all is well. On the plus side, I'll tell ya right now, nothing is better served by hi fi than putting on sad tunes when one is sad or wistful and then really wallowing in the exquisitness of the mood. Deep down, we know it will end, so why not savor it? Wishing you the best.

Stephen Mejias's picture

>I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the last two entries with the parallel shifts of time/analogies - artful blog entries, sir.Thanks very much, Jeff. That means a lot to me. I'm glad you've enjoyed them.And thanks also for those great lyrics. I looked them up to find that they belong to Blondie. I've probably heard the song, but I'm not really familiar. In any case: very cool.

Stephen Mejias's picture

>Wishing you the best.Thank you, Buddha. There are just certain things on my mind right now, and, through these posts, I'm trying to show, in (what I hope is) an interesting and intelligent and poetic way, how these things are weaving around in there. In my personal life, there are some things I'm trying to confront and take care of, and I'm actually confident that everything'll really be alright. In the past, I would talk about these things, or write about these things, but really do nothing about actually resolving them. Now - not in these posts, but in my real life - I'm actually going to do something about coming to a solution.

Jeff Wong's picture

And thanks also for those great lyrics. I looked them up to find that they belong to Blondie. I've probably heard the song, but I'm not really familiar. In any case: very cool.

You're very welcome - they seemed to fit. Actually, I don't think the song was ever recorded. The words appeared on the lyric sheet/inner sleeve of the original LP.

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