All posts for the month November, 2014

Bora Bora soundtrack, U.S. version

Bora Bora soundtrack

I’ve been listening to this soundtrack a lot lately.

“Bora Bora” is a spicy 1968 Italian film. American International Pictures picked it up, trimmed 7 minutes, dubbed it to English, and substituted a new soundtrack by their resident composer, Les Baxter.

Les Baxter is one of the progenitors of the Exotica/Tiki music of the 50s and early 60s, He composed one of its enduring standards, “Quiet Village”. a hit for Martin Denny. (More in the Tulsa Tiki section of Tulsa TV Memories).

Frank Morrow fan letter at KAKC, 1952

Click to enlarge

At right is a 1952 fan letter to Frank Morrow at KAKC in Tulsa, requesting “Quiet Village”. (Frank checked in with us a few days ago in the GroupBlog.)

Both the original and replacement scores are included on the album. I personally prefer the Baxter version. It’s lusher, moodier, and more unified-sounding.

You can get it for free at (discussed in previous post, Movie, TV soundtracks on MP3).

Here is the download link at When you click Free Download, ignore any offer of a “Java Plug-in”, and uncheck any “download manager” option presented. Exit the popup windows (you should get two).

Having enjoyed the soundtrack so much, I wanted to see the movie.

You might have seen “Bora Bora” circa 1971 at one of Tulsa’s drive-ins, such as the Capri or Riverside. I’m willing to bet it played here.

The New York Times wasn’t kind to it in that year: “Dull Double Bill“. The other movie on that bill was “Kama Sutra”, which, amazingly, I do remember seeing at the Admiral Twin Drive-In. I can testify that the Times was correct. Very boring and droning, just like its source material. The book read as though it were written by an obsessive but passionless taxonomist; every configuration had to be given a name, and the naming and classification itself had the most importance to the writer.

On the other hand, I did enjoy “Bora Bora” some 42 years later. Of course there is the soundtrack, and the photogenic landscape and people. The story might not be epic, but it does keep the show moving. The male protagonist comes off as a manipulative jerk. The female lead, Haydée Politoff, also starred in a film made around the same time by renowned French director Eric Rohmer, “La Collectionneuse” (The Collector). I’ve really liked his movies, so I will look for it.

“Bora Bora” has that weird 60s-70s time warp feel, but the nudity doesn’t seem especially gratuitous for the era. Maybe that’s what was in the trimmed 7 minutes.

The movie poster shouted, “Twice Banned in Europe!” Did the first ban fail due to popular demand or lack of interest?

Not Safe For Work (NSFW). Rated “R”.

“Bora Bora” on Hulu (browser only, not available on Hulu Plus Roku channel)

Zabriskie Point, 282 feet below sea level.

Zabriskie Point, 282′ below sea level.

Last night, I was listening to the soundtrack of “Zabriskie Point”, a 1970 film about counterculture in the U.S. It features Pink Floyd and Jerry Garcia.

This morning in the den, I was reading about the two untrained lead actors of the movie and their own story, which is probably more interesting than the plot. I didn’t see this R-rated film at the theater in 1970, even though I was of age, barely  (“R: Restricted – persons under 16 not admitted unless accompanied by parent or adult guardian.”)

Here’s how I got to watch it today, all without leaving the couch:

First, I checked to see if it was available on Netflix. It was on DVD, but not streaming.

Next, I looked on YouTube, It was there, but in a dubbed French version, or English in 12 separate parts.

I then found a torrent of it in .avi format, 672×288 resolution. Windows Media Player claimed to acquire a codec to play it, but it played sound only. That was OK, I wanted to see it on a big screen anyway.

I put the file in the public folder of the laptop I was using, then brought up the free TightVNC Viewer. It let me take over the desktop of a more powerful Windows 7 PC in our office. Acting as that computer, I copied the .avi file over to it from the laptop.

I already had the free Handbrake conversion utility installed there. The process of converting .avi to .mp4 format took only a few minutes. MP4 streams well to a Roku box.

Then I put the file in the proper naming and filing convention for Plex: /Movies/Zabriskie Point (1970)/Zabriskie Point (1970).mp4.

I brought up the Plex channel on the Roku in the den, and there was the movie, with poster art. When you click to play, the Plex channel software on the Roku talks to the free Plex Media Server software running on the computer, via our wifi.

I’m now watching it, not having stirred my haunches, except for coffee (I’ll get some exercise later today). So far, so good. It looks and sounds great.

Tulsa-area TV transmitter locations

A couple of days ago during high wind conditions, I moved our den antenna around while tuning in the stations located to the east of Tulsa, near Coweta. (Generate this map for your location on this page at I get excellent signal strength from all of these stations.

But some were affected by the wind. This is due to the movement of trees between my antenna and the transmitter.

Comparing my results with the data in the chart at bottom (click to enlarge), I observed that the stations with signal readings unaffected by wind were lower in frequency. The stations whose signals intermittently dropped to zero were higher frequency.

This is understandable. The higher the frequency, the more “line of sight” it is. High frequency FM radio has a much shorter range than low frequency AM for this reason.

Our “legacy” channels are KJRH-2, KOTV-6, KTUL-8 and KOED-11. Their antennas are roughly in the same place to the east (8 is a few miles away from the others).

When these channels went on the air in the 1950s (KOTV in late 1949), channels 2, 6, 8 and 11 were all VHF channels, on the lower end of the frequencies allocated for TV by the FCC.

Of those four, only KOTV-6 reception was affected by the wind. Why would it be different from the others?

It turns out that KOTV is the only one on a high frequency channel, despite its low number.

In Tulsa, we didn’t have any higher-band UHF channels until the 1980s (with one brief exception in 1954, KCEB).

Today in the digital era, there are lots of channels across the VHF and especially the UHF band, and most have subchannels.

For technical and administrative reasons, the need and desire was there for some stations to change frequencies. But it would be confusing for KOTV, billed as Channel 6 for decades, to show up on your TV as channel 55 (where it was in 2004), then channel 45, where it is today.

A way had been developed to let KOTV remain Channel 6. Though KOTV broadcasts on real channel 45, it has an alias of channel 6, its “virtual” channel.

During the transition to digital, real channels were shuffled around, but viewers continued to see 2, 6, 8 and 11 (or in the new subchannel nomenclature, 2.1, 6.1, 8.1 and 11.1).

Currently, virtual channel numbers 2, 6, 8 and 11 are assigned to real channels 8, 45, 10 and 11, respectively (only 11 has the same virtual and real channel). Virtual 6/real 45 alone is up in the high frequency range (see the table below).

Thus KOTV is the one of the four more vulnerable to dropouts in high wind conditions (at least as seen by my antenna from my house). If it bothers me enough, I could move my antenna to the attic, or outside on a high mast.

Generate a custom data page for your own location at this page on (To help interpret it, use this FAQ at tvfool.)

The maps and tables are a great help when you are looking for your house’s sweet spots, and understanding why they are where they are.

Data for local channels from our house

(Click to enlarge) Local channel data for our location. The higher the real channel, the higher the frequency.

Tulsa-area TV transmitter locations

This little map is based on my location near 81st and Memorial. (You can generate a version for your location on this page at

As you can see from the labels I added, almost all the network stations and their subchannels are located to the east-southeast near Coweta. They are 12-16 miles from us.

Unamplified indoor antennas should be adequate for most stations within 30 miles or so. KRSC-35 (now KRSU) north of Claremore is just under 30 miles from us.

But there is a caveat. Where you  place an antenna within your house can be critical for best results, and requires experimentation to find the best spot(s).

There was exactly one spot in our theater room within range of one antenna’s cable that worked well for almost all the stations. It was in the middle of the wall, east-facing, and as high on the wall as it could get. Surprisingly, this wall is an interior one.

In the den, I taped a flat antenna directly to the inside of an east-facing window.

Be prepared for surprises when you move your antenna around, because the interior structure of your house (especially wiring and metal), and exterior buildings and trees affect reception by creating radio wave reflections and blank areas.

The best placement may be counter-intuitive. It might be flat on a table, or facing a “wrong” direction.

Some placements are forgiving. Some have problems with particular stations. In our den, the chimney is between the antenna and the channel 44 transmitter to the southwest, which blocks it pretty effectively.

The map above can help make sense of why some spots work and why some do not.

Neighbor cat Albert on our couch, royally symbolizing the importance of the WAF (wife acceptance factor) in home theater

Neighbor cat Albert on our couch, royal symbol of the importance of the WAF (wife acceptance factor)

This is a more technical post about a problem I had with the Raspberry Pi computer I use as a Plex client, and frontend to a Windows Media Center PC. But I will sweeten it two ways.

One, here’s a cat picture. Two, the takeaway will be presented upfront so you don’t have to read any farther.

To wit: I have truly learned a lot from working with the Pi (originally intended as an educational computer), and had a lot of fun (all posts related to the Pi).

But to maximize WAF, the Pi must remain my own little project in the theater room. There are just too many updates, tweaks, and fixes needed to keep it going. For my wife’s den TV, I must use more stable and user-friendly ways to record TV shows, and play our own TV and movie content.

The Plex channel on the Roku box is working well for the latter purpose. For recording and watching TV shows, a TiVo is likely the simplest and most user-friendly solution, though there is a service fee of $15/month.

Windows Media Center does a high WAF recording job. Connected to the TV via Extender (e.g., an Xbox 360), it incurs a fee of $0/month. I’ll try it when I am able to borrow or buy a used Xbox. Rather than go to the expense of wiring the house for Ethernet now, I just bought a 100′ CAT6 Ethernet cable to test with.


The Pi would not boot today. Could have been several things.

I had the Pi “super” overclocked as a way to speed up the interface, and thus more prone to corrupting the SD card that holds its operating system. However, in July, I altered a file on the SD card to make the Pi bypass it, and instead use a USB drive with the OS (RaspBMC). This sped up the Pi and made it less susceptible to corruption. (Great writeup: Transfer SD Install to USB Install).

But the SD card was an immediate suspect. It was also possible that the overclocking had fried the Pi (har har). Or maybe the USB drive had gotten corrupted.

I had another SD card with the Raspbian operating system on it, so I tried booting up on it. It worked. So apparently the Pi hardware was OK.

Next, I used free software (USB Image Tool) to restore to the SD card an image I had saved when I moved the OS to USB. Tried to boot up on it, but still no good.

I saved the Raspbian image to my PC with USBIT, then restored the RaspBMC image to that SD card. It booted OK. (Was the first SD card bad? I restored the Raspbian image to it, so I can try it later.) Then I set the Pi overclocking down to merely “fast”.

Just another day in the life of Pi.