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simplify simplify

c9a60efd5105f7d75c171e4c57b62a6fI have written before about how i divested myself of many many things.  When I moved into this hovel, i thought i had made it to a point where i owned the least I have ever owned, and it was still quite a bit.   Unfortunately being a bit of a non-minimalist, I tend to acquire and not deaccession until I run out of storage or I have what i consider clutter. I still see things I want to own, i don’t know where that need comes from, i only know it when it happens.  I was standing in the thrift store aisle holding a little .99 saucer and it was all i could do not to buy it. i didn’t need it, it was just pretty.  but If i brought it home, it would indeed make me smile when I saw it, but where would it get stored, what would i use it for? teabags?  cookies?  spoons? what am i putting those things on now? Did one day I put a spoon on the counter and say ‘ i need a saucer to go under that spoon.’  So there was no saucer shaped hole in my life that needed filling, in the end it stayed in the store.  The art supply store has put in some tableware for some inexplicable reason…pretty stuff but not even locally made.. it was less difficult to not buy an olive wood tidbit bowl since it was more than I was willing to rationalize..and so it goes, it is a constant struggle.

Lately I am having the urge to do a big divest again, but I can’t find a good reason other than the desire.  What do i cull?  ideally i’d like to get rid of all my kitchen devices and bring all that ware down to a minimalist level.. but what do i donate ?  my electric teakettle that i use everyday?  my toaster?    without an actual oven in my kitchen I am limited in what I can do without.  the tiny microwave is on its last legs and will probably not get replace for financial reasons even though i use it everyday to reheat things i have previously cooked. I know how to reheat things in my counter oven or on the hot plate, but that makes pots and pans dirty so now i have more dishes to wash. and so forth, cooking with fewer vessels and utensils is possible and i have found enjoyable, but there are tradeoffs.   One day I would like another stove.. but where would i put it?  get rid of the sideboard? then i have to move all the stored food into cupboards, and the items in the cupboards..would have to go someplace else.  I can only imagine that i had more cupboard space in my last kitchen which was very tiny.  Because I have not allowed myself to acquire MORE cooking vessels than i had before. I added a couple of sporks which i can’t find today.

Lately I have become obsessed with watching 18th century cooking videos on youtube. It reminds me that perfectly fine cooking can be done with fewer possessions.  One day when I get another stove I may take the plunge and purge a lot of my stuff, but how can i live without my stick blender?

sharps, a post with a point.

I had to make an iphone alert to remind me once a week to enter my hours worked for the temp job, so now i have an alert to remind me to write a blog post a few times  a week.  lets see how long it takes for me to start hitting the snooze button on it.  Sorry if some of this is duplicate data, I am trying to wrap my head around some topics. 

2015-01-18 12.30.14One of the yearly alerts I added to my calendar was one that reminded me to clean all my pocket knives, of which shockingly, I have more than I thought.  I can’t remember WHEN I didn’t carry a pocket knife… and I have had to watch the world rotate from one where everyone carried a pocket knife, to one where carrying a pocket knife into certain buildings will cause you no end of trouble.  A totally stupid thing to have to witness I can tell  you.  A pocket knife is a bloody tool. yes you can kill someone with a fat red Swiss army knife, but it takes a LOT of  work and for the most part they have to just lie there and let you do it.  Don’t ask how i know these things, you just don’t want to go there.

I know I had an antique rusty two bladed electricians knife before I had my Swiss Army knife…what I don’t know is what happened to it.  I may have lost it when I was in high school and replaced it with the Swiss Army Knife Camper Model… and I don’t remember where I got either, I suspect I stole the first one from my brother and I may gotten the second as a christmas gift, my memory doesn’t go that far back anymore.   But the Swiss Army knife stayed in my backpack for……well….it’s actually still in my backpack now, thirty Five years and about 9 backpacks later.  As SAK go, the Camper is just about perfect for an EDC, doesn’t scream I’m a slut for useless tools, yet it has about everything you could need just going to school, work or home – without having to fight off zombies, or skin bambi’s mom.

About 27 years ago I found the Stanley 10-049 Pocket knife which has been my GO TO knife ever since… I have used this as a bench knife for book repair, all sorts of hand crafts, and household chores, opening boxes, and even clams.  Biggest feature is that it is CHEAP, and at less than $10 I usually have one in every drawer in the house.  The other things I like about are: that it is FLAT, and can go in a front or back pocker without making it awkward; the blade is also both replaceable and will taken an edge.  I also like that the tip is blunted so you can cut flat against a surface, unlike most pointed weapons.  I treat myself to a new one for the bottom of my purse every few years and rotate the old ones to the work bench.  And NO I can’t take my purse in government buildings, that should be obvious.

When I got my first BIG job I splurged on a Leatherman Micra for my keychain, where it has hung for over 20 years…to be honest I rarely need it except for the scissors which have saved my sanity more than a few times.  I’d rather have it than not have it.

Last December I decided that I wanted a new pocket knife, one with a bail for a lanyard.  That was the one thing the Stanley didn’t have.  I also wanted a knife with a few other blades that i could carry in my pants,  that wasn’t the SAK. Face it, whichever sex you are, you cannot sit comfortably with a SAK in your back pocket, and in your front pocket, it just looks weird.  I didn’t think i would find one i liked since most knives these days are designed to look fierce and not be functional.  But I hadn’t considered that the US ARMY had already done the design work for me.   The Camillus 1760, fit all my requirements so perfectly that once I saw it, I had to have one.  In production from the 40s to the 90s, the truly vintage ones were either truly expensive or fixer uppers, I just kept my eye out for one that I could afford and not feel guilty about buying. I found one on ebay from 1989 and about $30.  turns out it was hardly used, so hardly used that I am have to work on one of the tool blades with some rubbing compound to get it to open more smoothly.  No matter. it fit my coat pocket and hand perfectly.

When I was trolling through second hand shops for birthday slash christmas gifts for myself, I stumbled on this Leatherman in a pawn shop. It normally sells for about $80 on sale and I never could rationalize buying what for me amounts to a glorified pair of pliers. However at less than half price, it was also seriously dirty and wouldn’t open well for the counter clerk, I got it for $25. I couldn’t NOT buy it. I cleaned it and lubed it and bought it a nice new sheath and more screwdriver bits so it came up to about $40 totally.  But I haven’t regretted it.  I LIKE knowing it is in the bottom of my bag along with a tape measure, a flashlight and a roll of gorilla tape.   So I feel rather smug having gotten such a really great discount on a very well designed tool.

So those are my knives.. usually the SAK is home in my backpack and the 1760 is in my coat pocket, so unlike a lot of knife collectors, i don’t think i will need to add to that family anytime soon. In fact if I lost any of them I would just replace them with exactly the same models. If a tool isn’t where you need it when you need it, then its just a waste of money.

HINT: to clean a dirty knife, put it in the sink and pour boiling water over it….or just very hot water…. when it is dried thoroughly, saturate it with WD-40 and clean all the joints and crevices, use a paint brush if you have to.  Work all the blades and respray  you may see it all the dirty come out. leave it open on a paper towel to drip dry.  Then lubricate the joins with oil.  WD-40 is a solvent not an oil.  3 in 1 oil or mystery oil work well, I used a bike lube that has a Teflon additive, mostly cause it was at hand. 

fruit on the bottom

241c4f40-9463-4b1d-911a-88c1b7f31875_400 Bought the 1st appliance for the house yesterday…well honestly it will be only ‘appliance’ at this time… the stove isn’t getting replaced with another stove, and the washer and dryer in the basement will be run until they die, because you have to take out two cellar steps to get anything larger than a laundry basket down there.   Aside from the Fridge, the other machine purchases will be the big ass dehumidifier. I was a little proud of myself for getting my MUST purchase list down to one big-ticket item…. knock wood. I’m trying to remember but I think this is my FIRST new-new fridge, I think all my previous fridges have been used-new fridges.  What I experienced when I bought the truck, is that dropping large amounts on a single  item is a bit shocking …your brain…well at least my brain..or HALF my brain, drags its feet in the dirt all the way to the store trying every which way TO FIGURE  OUT HOW TO NOT DO IT, “surely you can get away with a SMALLER icebox?” “what’s wrong with the one that’s already there?”, “why don’t you just eat less food? you cow!”  “Aren’t you just being wastefully consumeristic?” consumeristic..that’s a word right?   In the end it gave up.

e2d4a251-27f1-40f7-998b-a715fa70b835_400I was already thinking about a new fridge since before I decided to move…. and I have decided as with many things, we Americans have it backwards.   The empty fridge is essentially what is found in most small households, when I say that read – ‘ALL apartments’ and most poor folks homes.  The inadequately small freezer is at eye level, which prompts us to consume the frozen pizza and the ice cream first,  once you slide in a few bags of frozen vegetables and blueberry bagels, you are  have very little room for cook ahead preparations Any hastily wrapped leftovers will keep falling out when you open the door, hitting your foot one too many times, causing you to throw them in the trash, since you didn’t label the brown blob in the first place and can’t decide if it’s baked beans or burnt meat.   And then there is the ‘dead zone’ in the lower back where all the leftover containers slip away to die out of sight, out of mind, leaking their juices into the vegetable drawers below.  Speaking of vegggies, just to GET at them you have to open the door all the way, and do a squat thrust, to open the drawers…which are never quite big enough for anything more than a bag of potatoes and onions anyway.  The whole design leaves the soda bottles, semi prepared foods and  condiments at hand level.

I don’t know about you, but if I had back all the money I have lost on food that went all blue, merely because it was hidden behind a wilting head of Romaine lettuce, I probably could have bought a bigger house….just saying.

That sort of refrigerator really only works in an urban environment where you can shop for fresh foods on a frequent basis, it’s not really set up for infrequent use or long-term storage.  The closer you are to fresh foods, the smaller your fridge can be. Now as much as I am looking forward to visiting Rosemont Market and Trader Joes,  I’m only one person if I buy fresh food once a week it’s probably a holiday.  I’m more of a cook when I feel like it and put away the extra for when I don’t feel like it.   But I DO LIKE TO COOK, and got very, very good at it, so I want a big ass freezer.  My other option was to buy a chest freezer – which still leaves me with the badly designed fridge with the dead zone, but gives me a hidey hole in the basement for all my banana breads and decades of premade meals.  For one person, who doesn’t get sides of dead animals delivered in little white paper packages, the chest freezer isn’t a truly frugal option.

 

All of this led me back to the freezer on the bottom resolution.  The Cheapest of the Freezer on Bottoms was $800 and was still pretty damn small. The freezer is a door, not a drawer, and in fact it was exactly like the small apartment size ones….cept assembled upside down.  The Second Cheapest was from Whirlpool on sale for $1100..yes I know I can buy a car for that…a shitty car, but a car… for that I got a decent sized cooler section about the same space I would get in an apartment size fridge…and it brings the veggie bin up to hand/eye level and gave me what I think can be considered a chest freezer for ONE person.

I really hadn’t planned on buying stuff for the house until I actually HAD the damn house, but the damn fridges were on sale this month at Home Depot, so I had to decide pretty damn quick which one I wanted and buy it now to get the sale price, and forgo delivery until September when I KNOW I will be home.  By then the kitchen floor will be epoxied, the stove will be removed and  I can stick the little bitty fridge that is there on the back porch..hopefully I will have one by then…until I can find a brawny person to help me remove the two steps and finagle it into the basement… yeah I know I don’t NEED IT,  need it. but my god..it’s MAINE, you don’t think I’m going to give away a perfectly suitable lobster and beer fridge do you?

to stove or not to stove

stove In the never ending task of trying to keep various parts of my brain busy, I started thinking about my kitchen – regardless of what house it will be in, lets move on from that shall we? – Using the red house as a yardstick for now…the rooms will be small. Granted my kitchen is small now, it’s rather a hallway with a sink…in certain circles, like NYC my kitchen would be considered vast…. regardless space shouldn’t be wasted and if i begin as i intend to go on, applying all the space saving skills I have at hand, I can make the space i WILL have seem much larger than it is. Did that make sense to anyone but me? No, doesn’t matter, lets move on.

Essentially i came to this marvelous conclusion when i picked up that little hutch..to continue looking for smaller than average furniture and appliances, to make the space I do have seem larger. I have already been collecting smaller than average cookware for many years. Though my kitchen HAS a 22″ inch apartment size stove, it is purely for decoration. I have a cutting board over it and haven’t used it for over 12 years..in fact i think this one is a replacement and i have never used it at all. I have a Counter top oven..which is a toaster oven on steroids…and one single ‘fifth’ burner…though i wish i had two. That’s all i need and I can cook pretty much anything – I want. I never cook for more than just me, and even if i have company in the new place, i can do that using what i got just fine. I don’t NEED a STOVE, I really don’t.

counteroven

WHY does a kitchen HAVE a stove? Cause it’s traditional. Most people can’t cook for shit to begin with, but they have a stove because, a kitchen has a stove. Go look at any old person’s domicile…only ONE burner is used and they end up heating an entire oven up just to reheat leftover pizza cause it gets soggy in the microwave…my microwave is above the fridge so i can make my popcorn.

While I was looking at Energy Star Appliances I noticed there are NO energy Star ovens..there just isn’t because they waste energy. It is part of the design…and it is even MORE wasteful for ONE person. Even if i use it all the time, the ENTIRE box needs to get hot just so i can cook what amounts to a meat loaf. So WHY do i have to HAVE a stove?

I will stick with the countertop oven, though sadly they don’t make MY model anymore. It’s a beat to hell and will probably last a little longer. I did start looking for a replacement though, there are convection ovens about the same size…large enough to roast a chicken, bake a cake or bread without burning the tops. I found the Professional Grade ovens look like the best use of energy..and they cost about the same as an entire stove. The Wisco 620 Commercial Convection Counter Top Oven costs about $400 and i will need to install a 2 burner cooktop $300… so now i am in seven bills when any partially used stove will only cost about $200 and a new one under $400. Should i good stoveless and use that space for the 19″ dishwasher? I’m thinking MAYBE.

Cooktop Over the years I have put together an excellent collection of cookware that fits in my counter top oven…that’s harder than it sounds. You know those muffin pans with the little handles that stick out? can’t use em… roasting pans with flared sides? nope. Basically 12″ wide is the limit, and i had to have a buddy tin snip down some large muffin pans from 6s to 4s. The Wisco should actually accept normal sized cookware without much problem, it will certainly use what i have. But Think about the volume of air surrounding the pans that would have to be heated to cook said muffins? it’s GOT to be less wasteful on energy. It may take years to make that $300 difference in costs, but time not really the issue.

That was my very long winded rationalization on NOT buying a stove, if and when the time comes that i have to buy a stove. I don’t expect the little red house to have its appliances, i really don’t. But then many of the other houses I look at are sporting stoves from previous generations, and god only knows what the insides look like. I am one person, i don’t need a 32″ stove taking up room and sucking up energy just to bake a meatloaf…meatloaf…been a long time since i made a meatloaf…. hmm…maybe i should make the kind that comes with the boiled egg in the middle? which would be funny since I use ground poultry. Time to fire up my steroidal toaster oven.

building a better bedstead

tarva-bed-frameSince i have nothing better to do but wait around here, i am doing what i always do when i can’t think about what’s important…i think about things that are not important, i build things in my head.  This is habitual since i can’t afford to building things in the real world…perhaps one day.

I had finally settled on this Ikea Tarva bed for now…it’s inexpensive, it’s made of wood so i can adapt it and when the time comes i can have it delivered and i won’t have to lug it myself.  It is probably not the last bed, i have a fat ass so i may need to replace it eventually.   I am planning on building out at least one wall in my new bedroom with bookcases, and i can slide this bed into a predesigned SPOT along that wall.   This will give me more wood on which to screw things.  I’m not partial to a lot of bedroom furniture, it all gets covered by books anyway so why wait?

The other conundrum was what to do about light….i still have my ersatz grandmother’s Ottlight floor lamp but that usually accompanies my reading chair.  In the room i am in, that’s the only lamp and i just swing it where i need it.  It’s taken a beating but it still works.

For my bed and for any guest beds in the house I have this idea for reading lights on the headboard.  Traditionally you have a choice of clamp on or screw on reading lamps and i have had both fall on my head in the dark, and they are equally unpleasant.  Since I am purposefully buying wooden hackable furniture that freed me up to plan on attaching anything additional features…like a phone or tablet charger cables and power strips along the back boards out of sight.

528614630_tp

While rooting around on the internet for just the right LED work lamp, i found that you can get gooseneck lamps designed to attach to sewing machine tables and other industrial situations, which have no clamp or clips to remove.  Instead it has a nice long threaded pipe so i can drill a hole into the shelf or bedstead.  After I attach a new end plug,  can put a nice 50watt equivelant LED in the lamp and a feed through cord switch to make it handy to control.   Granted the sum of the parts is way more expensive than nearly another other clip on LED reading light….but it suits all of my needs and doesn’t have the added danger of flying off when you adjust it and putting a dent in your head.

Once I attach it to the bed, I will run a power strip invisibly along the back of the bedframe, reachable really only when you are IN the bed, instead of the sort you can’t reach while IN the bed.   I hate it when the phone charger cable snakes its way down under the bed and i have to slide headfirst half way down the side of the bed and hope i can find it along the floor without falling all the way out of the bed.  I am sure it would make the cats laugh if they werent asleep and being useless.

 

almost fair

Somewhere in the middle of the night a brownie or borrower or some other tiny creature crawled inside my skull with an ice axe and has been banging away between my eyes. I got up at 5 am took the Excedrin and then sat up until it my chin hit my chest and woke me up, then i crawled back under the covers until the pain came back. Besides that i had a nightmare about spending money on things i shouldn’t. No doubt because yesterday was the ERRAND day, cat food, cat litter, cleaning supplies, gasoline..so essentially i was broke at the end of the day and STILL had bills to pay that are unavoidable…and thus the nightmare.

brother2270Today was a total turn around, i had a couple of larger sales come in and the funds went out almost immediately,  i paid the comcast account and the cellphone…I still have to pay the car insurance but i have until next week.    And the larger sales are for products that i have to reorder, so that money is already on its way out the door.

Meanwhile i have 7 orders to ship, 3 are already boxed and the damn printer cartridge has given up the ghost…this time a lot sooner than normal.   The Cartridge refill place has raised the price to $44 dollars for the toner for the ancient HP5L …..so I  have talked myself into buying a new printer NOW instead of waiting until I move…..

I was also trying to put some money aside to go to the Book Fairs in Boston this weekend… so right now it’s either  buy a printer and ship the orders or save the money and go to the book fair. I am leaning towards the fuck-it side of that argument.

blackcatstrutThe universe practically gave me a black cat every day this week….too bad the kittens are about 16 weeks, they are too old to socialize well for adoption, one of them is just a bitch….all i can do is fix them and put them all back next week hopefully before it snows.  One or two of the kittens COULD be hand tamed to live in a house or a barn, but at this age they will almost never be your typical housecat; they will always been too fearful… it’s not like it is impossible, but the socialization takes ages and it has to be one on one.  overwhelmed  fosters like me who have several to contend with just can’t get the job done.  The three who ARE going to live elsewhere when i move are JUST like these… social enough to grab for vaccinations but completely indifferent to me the rest of the year.   Besides i still have the two who are being adopted out…and as yet they really only like me when i am opening cans of baby food.

Honestly cat food and cleaning supplies are my largest expense….a few more mouths to feed now and then  doesn’t even registered as a blip. Caged cats however do use more litter than free range, because i have to change the entire pan twice a day…whereas i can just scoop the others.  I will get a few bucks on Monday when i do the clinic, its primarily for gas as I am SUPPOSED to be volunteering but i use it for whatever my roommates need.   I will drag all these guys to Mondays clinic and then put them back on Wed or Thursday.

One of the voices feels quite guilty about NOT being here to accept deliveries of cats that would just have miserable lives if no one intervened…but then the other voice is doing a backflip, since once I move, I won’t have the constant struggle trying to keep my living room cage free.   I am sure there are cats in Greenfield that will need rescuing…i am just praying that no one gives them my address!

small parts

IMG_2140 let’s pretend that’s a picture of what’s underneath my fridge, okay?  i moved it the other day to find a kitten, then i quickly moved it back realizing i don’t have the cleaning supplies to tackle it.

We have had this apartment house since 1977 and for several years in the middle i had a smaller one with my ex-husband, and at various times i have cleaned houses and worked with the elderly and so forth…but now ‘I’ am the old lady who has been in her apartment for twenty years and the place  shows it.

No matter how much i clean and what i clean, the apartment has had a lot of wear and tear. Not that i feel bad for the new owners, they can throw money at it and fix it just fine. I am just stressing at the thought that maybe this is what will happen to the new house. Will it be too much for me to maintain? will i end up washing the damn floor over and over because it never looks clean enough? (i have white linoleum here…whomever invented that should die  a firey death.) will i end up with cobweb covered molding because i can’t actually SEE what’s up there?

The more i plan for the new one, the more i loathe this one. The more i blame a lot of my problems and unfulfilled desires on the three room apartment I have worn down to the nubbin. I am pissed off that i have spent years divesting myself of things just because i didn’t have the space…and now that i will HAVE the space, i may have to rebuy them. Not just books, and media, but furniture, carpets, pots and pans, many things that i collected because i wanted a home of my own one day, and then surrendered that dream accepting that i would die in this little hovel.  So why die with a bunch of stuff my brother will just throw out? Essentially anything that could be sold, got sold, and the things that were kept are worthless to anyone but me.

desk

While making my little plans and lists, one of the things i have missed the most is having a workbench…for a few years I HAD a work bench, cobbled together from old kitchen cabinets. in a dedicated area in the apartment..but as the volume of cats increased my private cat free zones had to be surrendered.   Now i am down to three work areas about 24″ wide… kitchen counter, my desk and a small table, and no matter what project I break out, it all has to be put away every time my back is turned. All for the lack of DOORS…no i don’t have actual doors this fucking apartment only had those closet folding louver things which any cat worthy of the name can push open.

After the 1st 10 years I finally gave up my workshop and broke up all my tools and materials for fixing things, not just books… everything is stored in containers and drawers secreted all over the apartment. Repair items are the things i don’t give up. Tapes, glues, tools, hinges, knobs, and a clutter of other doohickeys and widgets are what stands between me and the absolutely bottom. Repairing and resurrecting things has been my mainstay since i was a kid. I was always collecting things and dragging home devices and furniture that only needed a little TLC to continue doing its thing. Repairing books was an easy segue from repairing everything else. But I don’t even do that anymore. Lacking a work space I can’t do anything more than the most minute repairs. Even the book presses are just ornamental door stops now.

akrobins I WILL have a work area in the new place, else why bother? I don’t know if it will be in a spare room or a basement or just in the living room window looking out onto the world (that’s where i put my 1st one in my 1st house) but it will have a place for everything and it will have a bloody great lockable door. I pulled up the part numbers for the Akro Mills small parts cabinets. which i am shocked to find are a lot cheaper than i had expected them to be. If i had known the prices had gone down so much i would have bought them already…but right now i have no place to put them. These little drawers aren’t good for just electronics…but the number of small things i keep on hand JUST for fixing things could fill more than one of these… hooks, latches, nail polish, files, tacks, carpet thread, upholstery needles, brushes, emery boards and bunch junk drawer dross.

In my fantasies each widget has its own drawer next to the next one and so forth. When i get settled and have all my crap spread out on the work bench, I will unbox several of these puppies straight from Amazon and have myself a long luxurious sorting session putting each item in its own drawer with its own label.   One of the voices in my head, (the only one that’s awake, the other is still sulking) keeps reminding me of how old i am, and that setting up anything in the new place that is elaborate or expensive is just a waste of time, because when i die it will all go out with the junk man, i turned my deaf ear towards that one and put a little gorilla tape over it’s big mouth. A little OCD never hurt anyone.

freedom to leave

comcast-sucks After thinking about it for two days, i finally sent a short email to Himself, politely booting him in the ass to shit or get off the pot…no it didn’t sound like that…it was mostly reminding him that in 3 months my life has not improved one bit.  I also CCed the lawyer who was less than pleased that i sent it to him directly… but hey..i kept whining to her and nothing happened..she’s gotta learn that i am just at heart a petulant impatient child.

The only other thing of significance i managed to tackle today was to start changing all my comcast emails to something comcast free…i picked an email i don’t use presently. I have had the comcast email for like 20 years now, and it is insidious, nearly every website i have had to sign into uses that comcast email. I can’t wait until I move to make the comcast v no comcast lifestyle. If i wait  I may have to have comcast installed for a few months and thats just stupid.

Going comcast free is a rather radical idea, most people who have had the chance have already done it, some of us have been chained to it unwillingly for years.   I know I will have at least have a choice between FIOS or Comcast, and i will make the best decision I can when the time comes. I  just access to the internet, but the cost for such a thing from comcast is exhorbitant in my opinion. Asde from that i haven’t had the problems other people have had with them...Consumerist.org has been happily tracking all the evil doing that comcast and other evil corporations, reminding us that they all suck pretty evenly.

It is rather shocking the number of times you have to log in your email address all over the internet, and then don’t even remember it.  Cleaning out your cookies now and then doesn’t cover the half of it.  Websites where you puchased one thing that one time,  newspaper sites, forums, subscriptions, and if you are a happy little email addict like me, it is probably four or five times the number of logins than the normal user…well maybe more…

I am obviously missing out on an opportunity to just disappear from some corners of the internet, but i never could keep track of multiple identities..i would suck as an internet troll.  I couldn’t even manage to manage a twitter account for my cat.  it was too complicated to remember his password.

solder day 3

2013-11-08 12.33.19 I trolled the dollar store for some bits i could breakdown for parts..or just to see how they worked…if you are looking for button batteries, this is absolutely the place. I ended up making out of course.  besides all the batteries, i got a couple of swell little speakers, some LEDs and some switches.  No idea what i will be doing with any of them, but it gives me some parts to play with.   BTW the pill containers make excellent containers for extra bits.

2013-11-08 13.46.53 So i am getting an idea what items to look out for in the cheapo electronics aisles that can yield more than a dollars worth of parts.

I got a used fan from the repair shop for $2 and put it together with a salvaged switch and battery connection from the thrift shop clock radio. Finally soldered something together that i can use.

I was feeling ambitious and broke out another little soldering project, and a few minutes later i had to pack it all up and put it away. the Desoldering gave me a migraine. I can’t do another thing until i get some lighted magnifier that will relieve the eye strain. I have a feeling the components are going to get smaller and smaller as i go along.
2013-11-08 14.48.12

solder day

2013-10-27 14.54.07 Usually Sundays I do laundry, clean house and ship orders…laundry done the other day and hung up to dry, damn gas dryer, no orders to ship and the house is as clean as its gonna get for a while, I emptied a couple of shelves and packed the contents into boxes, so my living room has about 4 filled and taped boxes for long term storage. Started cleaning the closet…i kinda had to, i pulled out the 2 space heaters yesterday which only reminded me that i need to pay off that bill too. but i did take the chill off the place.

I should have worked on actual WORK..i have some Greenfield books in all sorts of states of undoneness, but it takes a concentration i don’t have. One voice is pacing back and forth having imaginary conversations with Lawyer #11, so the other one and I pulled out the new soldering iron and learned how to solder. I want to learn electronics, i want to build my own problem solving devices, i want to learn enough to to play with or at least basically understand HOW an Arduino microcontroller works. I think that’s going to be a large part of the future. So i start with the soldering.

Electronics kits are a lot like many needlework projects, you get parts and directions and still you keep flipping back to the original picture, cept with the added chance of causing yourself a serious injury. I don’t have a door on my office, or my living room or bedroom for that matter, so the entire time i have my parts and tools spread out  the eyes in the back of my head kept watch for any cats that may want to suddenly help me re-sort my components.

It took me about 3 discs of an audiobook to complete Elenco’s Solder Practice kit #3. the 1st two rows of wires are just practice which is good, because it takes about that many before you have the rhythm heat, solder, heat, solder, quick and deliberate. So the 1st ones are unkempt but the solder on the parts that actually made the board light up are rather regular and since it DID light up, i guess i did it right. The lighted magnifier i bought was unnecessary, combined with my reading glasses I felt like i was trying to thread a needle while looking through a glass of water.

I would like to actually HAVE a work bench one day. As it is ANY project i do, has to be set up and broken down every time i am in the mood. I have had some sewing projects waiting around for more than a year. I really should get those done before i move. I put away the soldering iron and my tools until next weekend, I have another electronic mini Kit this one from VELLEMAN There are a LOT of homebrew electronic kit suppliers on the net…no a LOT…anyone who develops a little LED gizmo to make a tiny pumpking snap open and closed can put together a set of components in a zip lock bag and market it on ebay. And i look forward to discovering them…but in the mean time I made a couple of little red lights flick on and off but i would be hard pressed to tell you exactly WHY it works..but i certainly am getting a good grasp on the HOW it works.

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