New entry in my Kilt blog 9/21/2011

Showing newest 15 of 17 posts from February 2010. Show older posts
Showing newest 15 of 17 posts from February 2010. Show older posts

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Side Loader Bag

No matter how much I pimp this guy up he still
comes off looking like an old man in old clothes.

I have to admire peoples restraint as there were no jeers, catcalls or thrown rocks and a very nice looking young lady actually chose to have a conversation with me.

I had a very nice day.

In a prior post I featured a bag I picked up at the thrift store and re-purposed as a pannier. It's thin enough that when folded the side loader bars are free to carry bulk loads such as bags of dog food, propane tanks or the occasional dead body. When opened I have a roomy bag to hold loose valuable items such as wine, beer and potato chips the three major food groups. I have just been hanging various bags on the left side and that works quite well but I found this bag made in Chinaland and sold in their American outlet store Wal-Mart. $4.99 Amelican dolla' plus the kings tax.
It is the perfect size 12"h x 24"w x 11"d and you can see how thin it is. It is completely out of the way and acts as "skirt guard" if I should venture out in a long evening gown. The wheel is so far back that the Kilt is not a problem especially since I would not venture out on the bike in this barbaric land in one.
The bag appears to be made of a thin nylon and seems strong. I will report back in a few months about it's longevity. I didn't weigh it but I'm guessing about 5 or 6 ounces (142 - 170 g).
I am going to fabricate a rain cover (someday maybe) but I seldom venture out in the rain, one of the advantages of being retired. Industrial strength tie wraps and bungee cords are my friends on this bike. It all works amazingly well. I haven't had a spill or any other disaster yet but I'm going to keep at it until I do.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Old Fools Journal: MicroSoft (sucks) Internet Explorer Problems

It has been brought to my attention that Internet Explorer for some has stopped displaying content on this blog. All other browsers worked fine. I write this blog on Firefox and sometimes partially on Chromium for linux. I check it with Firefox, Chromium, Opera and Conqueror. I don't even have a copy of Internet explorer it being the worst of all.

So I did a little back tracking and detective work finding that the problem started when I added a JavaScript that enabled a statistic gathering program. I have removed it and I hope it solves the problem.

For those affected I apologized for the inconvenience.

Thanks to those that went to the trouble of using another browser and then let me know the problem through comments, email and one even in person.

I would appreciate either an email or comment of the status of the Old Fools Journal now.

Thanks in advance.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Arts and Crafts

What we have here is a 24X1.95 used up bike tube. It only has a couple of patches but it also has a an overstressed rotten spot. No amount of patching is going to make it hold air. Needing desperately to make something, anything, to satisfy some inner need I decided to make something I desperately do not need. I don't think I really decided. It's more like I charged ahead like some crazy blindfolded Don Quixote with the lance at the ready and no clue.
So I cut out this long 1 and ⅜ inch (3.5 cm) wide strip to make a belt. I must have at least 10 belts but this one is different. It's a statement I think. I just don't know what the statement is. The last time I made a statement with belts was in 1977 on the way to Hawaii on the good ship "Serenity". I lightened the load en-route by sacrificing to the Gods of the great Pacific Ocean boxes of receipts and records of things that I no longer wanted to prove or remember. I also cleaned out an accumulation of belts and ties. The witnesses said fearfully that "It looked like a madman coming up from below and throwing handfuls of snakes into the sea". If I could draw like my old friend Dave I would sketch a picture of that statement that they forever etched into my memory.
I cut two long slits in the strip and did an enclosed braid thing, added a solid brass buckle from my thrift store buckle collection, a couple of rivets from my 1965-66 hippy sandal /belt making stuff and ended up with this crude thing. I really should do one with a little more finesse and care.

I do not care, in the morning I'm putting on my tweed jacket, knickers with this belt, brown knee socks, big black shoes, gray wool driving cap, taking my shillelagh and going to the thrift store. They have enough crazies there that I'll blend right in.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Flashlights

Why are they called "flashlights"? Actually that is a popular name used in the United States and Canada. Most of the rest of the world call it a "torch" or an "electric torch". Being called a "torch is understandable since that is the light source it replaced but it could just as well have been called a "candle". It was patented in the U.S. in 1898 by an Englishman (David Misell) and he called it an "Electric Device" a pretty broad term covering a lot of devices including battery powered personal vibrators.

Dry cells in those days were zinc carbon and had a short life. In order to get any endurance out of them they had to be turned off regularly to let them recover a little. I have seen old flashlights placarded with instructions to leave them on no longer than an hour at a time. The turning on and off stuck them with the name "flashlight". I used those a lot in my early camping days. If I went to bed early I could get three nights out of them before I needed new ones. The good thing is they die slowly with the voltage going down in a fairly predictable curve unlike rechargeables that work good until they are through then quickly bottom out.

We still have those dry cells (usually called flashlight batteries, a misnomer as explained here) around and they are usually the cheapest available. You'll see them a lot around Christmas called "heavy duty" and touted as bargains. They are not bargains. They have poor shelf life and are usually worn out by the day after Christmas. They have a tendency to go bad and ruin whatever device they are left in. When I get a device that has them included I replace them with something a little more reliable. I use the cheapos up in something that I use a lot like my day to day flashlights (yes I have them, especially in winter with failing light. I have old eyes that need a lot of bright light) and in my shop music player and radio. No cell is finished here until it is really used up. When the cheapos are used up I switch to Ni-Mh rechargeable's for these devices. For the occasionally used backup flashlights I use Alkaline cells for their long shelf life which is easily two years. In this damp climate even if they don't leak they are likely to develop corrosion because of the dissimilar metals so at least once a year I have to clean them up inside.

I cleaned one today that the batteries had been in for about two years and used only when the power is out. The batteries measured the same as new under load but the metal contacts were green. Green does not transmit electricity. Works fine now.
Incandescent flashlights. Some are mini bulb and some are standard. From left to right a head lamp, single cell mini, two cell standard, two lantern/flash light combo lights and the old standard two D cell incandescent that I think of as "the Flashlight". That last one is one of two that the plastic case failed and the spring inside pushed the end out. I have had this one 15 years. The other one disassembled itself after about 25 years. The rest are still in use.
They use batteries up pretty fast and the bulbs though pretty rugged tend to fail when you need them. I have had flash lights that come with a spare bulb in the end cap so it was a known problem.
I used a relatively expensive rubber encased flashlights as the primary on my boat. Sorry I don't have a picture. These rugged flashlights were a very visible bright yellow and had guts that came out through the lens end. The switch was simple and not made of dissimilar metals so it never corroded. I further waterproofed them by putting a stainless hose clamp around the lens that was the only way in and out. I used these lights under water several times for jobs such as removing rope from the prop and shaft at night. That's another story I'll tell at another time. I kept these flashlights in fresh batteries at all times and stowed them around the boat in clips so that I could get to them if the boat was upside down. At least I would have light while I drowned.

These are the latest generation of flashlights using led and small batteries. They are really bright and unless you do something stupid almost never burn out. I have found the batteries to last an incredibly long time even if left on continuously. I had a three led with three AAA cells on for three days and it was still providing usable light in the aftermath of hurricane Gustav.
The price on these has come down dramatically in the last couple of years. I bought a 3 led for about $10.00 about five years ago and that was the cheapest I could find. The three on the left are 9 led's and they were $2.00 USD a piece at the Family Dollar Store with 3 heavy duty AAA cells. I see that Harbor Freight has them two for $4.99 +shipping and handling ($7.95). They are really bright and I now have them stashed every where I might need them. They are bright enough that at the speed I ride I could use them as a bike light.
The yellow 6 inch rule is for scale.
The red flashlight to the right of the rule is an Energizer and as I wrote in a prior post is an over priced waste of money. If you touch it the batteries are likely to fall out, if it's damp it will quit working all together and the rubber that encased the body rotted away after one year. It has a single led in the end that's good for about 10 feet (3meters). The only good thing is the tiny florescent in the side will run forever I guess on a set of cells (4AA). I had two but I disassembled one that quit working for parts.
The one on the right is the latest and is my primary flashlight now.
It's the Ultra Bright 4W LED that is said to last for 100,000 hours. It's a Ray O Vac SE4W3C Sportsman Xtreme. Its water resistant, yields 150 lumens and they use to say the case was titanium. Powered by 3 C-cells Runtime: 100 Hrs. C-cells are a size I avoid because they cost as much as D-cells and don't have near the power. The good thing about this size is it's the same length as AA-cells and by wrapping the AA-cells with tape or cutting strips out of a discarded cereal box to fatten them up a little so they can be used. The performance will be the same just with a shorter life. This flash lite is very bright and will put a spot bright enough to upset a cat several hundred feet away. I believe it is bright enough to damage you eyes if looked at directly at close range.
The only problem I have found is possibly the switch. This flashlight was given to me for parts because it didn't work. The man who gave it to me called the company (
Ray-O-Vac) and they sent him a new one. I took it apart to see what the problem was and found the switch melted. After determining that the flashlight was otherwise fine I called the company and they said it has a lifetime guaranty, send it in and we'll send you a new one. So I did. This flashlight retails for about $20.00USD now. The switch is a raised push button and I suspect it was accidentally turned on in a tool bag or suitcase. I'm surprised it didn't cause a fire as it must have gotten very hot.

Flashlights (torches) have been a pain in the ass since their beginning due to a lot of problems. At first it was poor power problems and poor bulbs. Cells leaked but now we have cells that claim not to leak. Don't fall for it they still leak. Cells got better and bulbs got better but other things went bad. In the old days a flashlight (torch) that you kept in the car was a device that you pointed at your flat tire, or engine and it gave no light or if it did it quit when you were half done. Does it sound like I have experience? Cells then had poor shelf life so carrying extra batteries sometimes worked and sometimes not as the backup spares were usually about half dead. Needing reliable light for my old junkers and later my boats I made up a light that worked from the starting battery. Now you can buy them in the auto parts store. I still carry one that plugs into the cigar lighter.

Later even though the cells improved and the bulbs improved other things were cheapened. Switches became a problem and are the main problem now in my opinion. Flashlights (torches) that seem impossible to make work probably have a bad switch. For some reason cleaning them up doesn't seem to work very well and I don't know why. I have tried contact cleaner and have even resorted to disassembling them and mechanically cleaning them up.

I have experienced failures because of inferior metal. I have had a perfectly good flashlight (torch) refuse to light because the wire or usually a flat piece of metal from the negative side of the battery case (the back of the flashlight) became a resistor instead of a conductor. The ohm meter does not lie. I took one apart that had a flat metal strip from the back end of the light to the switch. I measured over 100, 000 ohms with the meter. I replace it with copper wire and it worked fine. I have had the same problem with the spring and also with the reflector refusing to conduct electricity or at least not very well. At least they refused three volts. No amount of cleaning, sanding or scraping would make them work. I have never talked to any one else that has experienced the same problems but then I don't often talk to people and when I do flashlights don't seem to come up. Besides I think I would need to consult a alchemist with magical powers. I have an obsession with fixing things but these days I pretend that a spell has been cast and I toss them. I pull the pieces I might use in the future and throw the case with the switch in the trash. I am tired of the frustration.

Now with the market being flooded with flashlights with push button switches I expect massive switch failures. They have only so many cycles in them and I have already seen a few failures. I expect that even though the better aluminum cases will hold up better than the plastics and the bulbs will last thousands of hours they are made with a circuit board and I have already seen failures in those.

So it appears that you can buy lots of cheap flashlights expecting failures or you can buy expensive flashlights and be surprised by failures. I myself am going to make a bullet proof, hard wired, multiply 100,000 hour double bulbs and a military battle field switch. I figure it won't be more than two feet long or weigh more than a hundred pounds. It may have to be on wheels.

No hurry I have plenty of cheap ones for now.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Keeping It On The Light Side

I have been working on some stories from my past but some of the details make me sad at times and I have to stop. Besides the weather has been warming up and it is actually warm enough to wear a kilt. I have been in the shed working on bicycles, cleaning up, making gizmos from wood, just generally screwing off, listening to music and finishing nothing. I eyed the garden and made plans for doing what ever I have to do to plant another bucket garden. I know I said I wasn't going to but I'm going to prepare just in case I change my mind. It's not hard for me to change my mind anymore there is so little of it.

These pictures are of my new (to me) note making station. I picked this model of a butcher paper dispenser up at the thrift store. I believe the paper is a roll for a cash register. It is nothing fancy being made from what appears to be shop leavings and at about the same skill level as mine. It has been knocking around for a while. In my youth large paper rolls stood at the wrapping table in every store that had a meat market. There was no such thing as prewrapped or plastic. Even our bologna was weighed out and wrapped in this waxed on one side white paper. This model is perfect for tearing off a piece of paper just big enough to write a phone number or the encryption code for the wifi for the 10th time for those people that would lose their ass if it wasn't attached.On my little road trip last week to deliver Her Highness the Princess to her home I found this little jewel. It looks very comfy to me with a ceiling fan and plenty of yard for the beer cans. This trip takes me up through the woods and you see a lot of porches with living room furniture on them. This looks a little too calculated to me. The owner probably is an executive in Baton Rouge in the world of financing.

Whilst working in the shed on several broken bicycles at once and trying to patch cheap tubes from Chinaland my hair kept getting in my eyes and mouth. Why did you let it get so long you ask? The answer is " 'cause I could". Besides cutting it cost too much.

Well I showed that cheap tube from Chinaland a trick with a pair of scissors (why is it called a pair there is only one). By cutting at an angle instead of straight across like I do when making rubber bands I was able to make it big enough to double up. My hair has always been very fine but as I get older it is becoming brittle especially in the winter when the air is dry so I need a wide band with a coefficient of friction high enough to not slide out. A ⅜ inch wide 3 inch long band from an inner tube is big enough to loop back on itself 3 times and not be so tight as to break the hair. Add that to the "Uses for used up bicycle inner tubes" list.

Next time I have something really important to fix I'm going to make a belt from one. I only have about ten already.

Now you see why I don't get a damn thing done. Too busy making important things like hair bands.

Life is short. Play nekkid and don't worry about getting a damn thing done. You'll die soon enough and someone else can worry about it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Whittling More Stuff or what can I do for my sprouts?

At 1600 hours my bean sprout jar slid down into the sink one more time and I'd had enough of that. I went to my stock pile of raw material (the burn pile) hoping that something would come to me and it did. I found this stick that looked like it had a sprout jar stand inside it. At 1700 hours I had uncovered it.
A rub down with my secret sauce (beeswax, carnauba wax and orange oil) and it was ready for work.
It assumed the position at the back of the sink being humped by a jar of mung bean sprouts.
I love wood and I especially love things made from the natural shapes of wood. Just the feel of it when it is being work is very satisfying and the curves, textures and color are pure joy.

I hope it's clear I really love wood.

These sprouts were started two days ago.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Random Things

Light bulb hatching
Ever wonder what was inside those expensive screw in florescents that don't last near as long as claimed?
Now you know. I'm recovering parts to make a joule thief from this one.
You can spend a lot of money on a bracelet like this or you can make one from an old bicycle brake cable. Most people, even bicycle riders, will have no idea what it is. It's bright, shiny, stainless steel and pretty to a mechanical nerd especially one with bicycle on the brain. For those that don't know it is stranded wire that my camera and the internet doesn't show very well.

Steel is more valuable than gold. Without gold life goes on as we know it since most of us have little or none of it anyway. Without steel we would be in the stone-age.
This is one of the many signs advertising crabs for sale SWMBO loves them but personally they are so small that I think they are a waste of time. You can starve getting the meat out. It's like eating a cucumber in that you use more energy than you take in. I'll take a dungeness thank you. Posted for the street sign laying under it. The crab sign stood through a hurricane but they put up street signs with bubble gum and cellophane tape. When they fall (or are torn down by some mothers darling son) they are never replaced.
I wonder where the rest of it is. People save and store the damnedest things. Like I'm one to talk.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Winter Vegetables

Mung bean sprouts at 2½ days. This about ½ what I started with.

The problem with bean sprouts is when they just start to sprout and lose the green husk they taste so good. They have a nutty sweet taste that is good cooked or raw with about anything . This young they are like candy but as they get bigger a very light salting is good. I just pick them from the bowl and eat. I really like them in egg or spring rolls. Being a Mexican food fan I mix them in with frijoles or taco meat and make burritos. I call them Chinese burros or Mexican spring rolls. Of course they have chili and onion in them as well. For breakfast I scramble them with eggs and bell pepper or pimento. Actually I scramble them with just about anything. Sometimes it looks like I swept up the kitchen floor after a food fight. Eat with Chinese hot mustard on the side. Delicious.

I have read that it is healthy food but I really just eat them because they taste good. These are half the size they will get in a couple of more days but they are doomed. I'm tuning them into a waste product now. That's alright I just started a double batch.

They are easy to make and take little time, jus
t rinse them 3 to 5 times a day depending how dry it is. They are good raw from two days on and cooked anytime. I started these because I had a desire for a avocado and bean sprout sandwich with Miracle Whip. They can be very healthy but I use to know a guy that stir fried them in bacon fat with the crumbled bacon and they were delicious. OK, OK it was me but I'm trying to quit.
I start them in a jar like this. These have been rinsed and will soak in water until bedtime then propped on its side so it will drain. The idea is to keep them damp but not immersed.
The lid is just a canning lid with a couple of layers of cheese cloth. Cheese cloth is white but mine is brown because I sprouted some pink beans and it dyed it this color.

In a couple of days of rinsing and draining they look like this. I rinse and drain when I get up in the morning then two to four times before going to bed. the idea is to not let them get too dry.

It's a fascinating thing these beans. They grow from a tiny oval bean to a two and a half inch (5-6.5cm) sprout on water and air. How can that be?

If left until they start making leaves they are called greens.
Dedicated wide pint jar for storing the dry mung bean.

I had a hard time finding them here. This is such a backwater that none of the grocery stores have them and as far as I can tell there are no health food stores. I found an small Asian grocery run by a Vietnamese family and of course they had them and cheap too. The locals think they are a luxury item if they even know what they are.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Old Fools Journal: 26 Year Anniversery

This being Valentine's Day it is time to celebrate 26 years of living in sin and wedded bliss with SWMBO(she who must be obeyed). It has not been easy at times but we seem ready to go on.

I wrote this in my February 14 blog in 2008.

"Today was an event day. 24 years ago I was flying to California in my aeroplane when I suddenly had a urge to see an old friend. I bypassed my fuel stop and flew on to where they were building a new development in east Jesus Arizona. I then proceeded to land on the road, get drunk, spend the night, fill my airplane with car gas, rescue a damsel in distress and leave. I took the damsel with me. We have had many adventures together and we are still together which is the greatest adventure of all."
The air machine in the story is pictured above and is a 1954 Cessna 180 my all time favorite. The "damsel in distress" was SWMBO. She brought with her a paper bag with all her belongings and a puppy. We had no idea what the outcome would be and that out come surprises us every year.

I sold the aeroplane that Spring through a friend who acted as my agent. A close friend, I might add, and in that way found what our friendship was worth. He absconded with the money and I lost a friend that I miss more than the money.

The puppy grew up to be Prissy (short for Priscilla), grew old and went on to the great dog pack in the sky. I miss her more than the old "friend". We agree that she was the best dog of all time which is hard on other dogs. She is a hard act to follow.

We moved on, several times and now we are here. We've heard each others stories so many time we can each tell the others, but knowing each other, we know they are true no matter how outlandish they may seem. We have suffered real sorrow together and outrageous happiness. I suspect we will continue to do so.

Happy Valentine. Now I'm going to open the Anniversary wine and visit with the Princess and her grandmother. They are my Valentines.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Her Highness The Princess (fanfare with horns)

Her highness the youngest princess arrive last evening. I fetched her myself and I'm really getting too old for this I guess because it wore me out. I don't drive much anymore, certainly not in traffic and never at night. I got some of both. Better planning will have to be done in the future or outside help. To tell you the truth I would have walked on broken glass in ankle deep lava through fire to have her here.

My grandfather knew his own limitations and quit driving at 65. I still believe that I am as safe a driver as anyone else but that's not saying much. I would like to say I used to be excellent better than average driver but in retrospect that's what everybody thinks and like everybody else it was an illusion. I never was worth a crap I just happened to have very good luck. I would rather have luck than skill any day but you can't count on it. It is only apparent that you have good luck after the fact.

The picture above is the delayed 2009 Christmas. Like the senior princess she has caused me nothing but joy. No disappointment just the heartache of separation. I'm old and experienced so I should be able to figure out how to fix that but I think that is something that can't be fixed only endured. The ladies are going shopping. You can practically see the smoke coming off the money.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Cabin Fever

I woke up this morning once again being punished for the sins of having a good life. I was dreaming that I was once again on Serenity offshore Waikiki with Diamond Head in the distance being passed by a surface running submarine. We were en route Lahaina. The sub changed course to cross in front and I, being ever cautious, tweaked the wheel to safely pass behind. ....then I woke up..........

It was too cold to go out to the shed and get a rope and much too cold to tie a noose so I made coffee and brooded. I'm having a bad time with my choice of place to live out my life.

The new drill motor is installed and trued up. Now I need to drill something. It is so nice, I can dial in the speed while it is running - 100rpm to 800rpm. If you don't use these kinds of things you'll never understand.
Posted for the "shadows" and the blue light. I think I'll call it "feather light".
This is one of the bike inner tube feathers. One of my readers accused me of having an Imagination but I want you to know that I did not think this up. I saw work by someone else and remembered the work but not the source. Today by chance I stumbled across that source and here it is.

At least I think this is where I saw it.

I'm trying but being creative is hard work. You have to actually see not just look.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Even More Uses For Bicycle Inner Tubes

Bicycle Feathers.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Another Tool Bites the Dust

This instrument of destruction and construction came to me in a trade with an old pal over 20 years ago when I was still living in Mexico. I believe it was more than 20 years old then.
Sorry for the poor image but it's what I have.

It has done a lot of work and I have not found a metal that it wouldn't put a drill through.

I didn't take it apart just so I could see what was in it as I sometimes do. I took it apart to see what was wrong and why it wouldn't go around anymore. It made a loud clunk and one big spark on the last hole for the rack support adapters on my long bike project then it stopped. It shook my meager workshop shed.

Turns out the rear thrust bearing packed it in and that is all that is wrong with it. They don't repair or make parts for this model now but the bearing, though not an original part, is available. I don't believe I can get the old one out without damaging the case and a lot of work so I think I' ll just accept my loss and press on. They just don't make anything to last anymore.

The bright side is I get some gears to mess with and a nifty paper weight (the armature). I feel an art project coming on.

It was in this drill press stand when I got it and I have seldom taken it out for other use. The stand is the same vintage as the motor. It, like the drill motor, is made in the U.S.A. I'm not likely to find a replacement made there. It is sturdy and as true as any other drill press I've used at least at my skill level. The mount is full adjustable and will accept any drill motor I have come across.

The plastic knobs for adjustment went the way of all plastic many years ago but that is what those cheap Vise Grips that are on the bargain table at the hardware store are for. That and for inside door handles on old pickup trucks , water faucet handles and emergency battery clamps. You can see one in use here with the chuck key hanging from it by it's orange strap.
The drill motor that is mounted on it now is a 3/8 Inch Craftsman I got off the refurbished table in the Honolulu Sears store in 1978. They gave me a $5.00 trade in for a 1959 quarter inch drill motor that was a Christmas present from my family that year . It got to where it wouldn't go around anymore either. I guess I'm hard on drills. I still have the spade wood bits that came with it. I've had to sharpen them a few times but they are still shiny, pretty and cut as clean as any of that type do. SWMBO thinks tools are pretty too.
The UPS man just dropped off my brand new shiny ½ inch drill motor so now I can continue to make big holes in metal. I ordered this one from Northern Tool and you can guess where it was made.

I have tools so I make stuff. If I didn't have tools I would make tools so I could make stuff. I am compelled by my very nature to do so. living with nothing so that my life would be simple is not possible for me as I would set about making stuff unless my hands were bound. Having nothing does not simplify your life.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Meet Jane

Jane is my computer, record keeper, window to the universe, phonograph, telephone, television, photo album, typewriter, publisher, library, teacher, zen monk, dictionary, encyclopedia, simulator, stimulator and pornograph. She is quite a girl. She is very old and very young, smart and at times really stupid and is very patient. She is however emotionless but that is coming. For now she connects me to plenty of emotion in the world and while she is learning to be herself she uses the world to display all the traits of humanity good and bad. Unlike humanity she can also display the traits of the animal world both real and imagined. She can bring into play the personalities of imagined creatures of the entire universe. She cannot as yet offer this on her own initiative but has to be asked.

I think she is lovely as is but I suspect she would like to have eyebrows and as she gains more of the human ego probably hair. Her features will soften into a different shape as she matures since she is already female. Hopefully as she gets older they won't harden as so many women do.

Jane's name comes from a science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card called "Enders Game". It is an excellent story with a sequel called "Speaker of the Dead". With his background and beliefs I do not understand how he did this. Must have been in a delusional rational moment. Maybe his God spoke to him and he wrote it down but did not hear the message. Who knows? I am not his follower but rather the follower of the characters he imagined. Jane was the computer and I fell in love with her and I did identify with Ender.

Make no mistake Jane is the beginning of life. I makes no difference if life is biological or is mechanical it is still life. Life is life. Why is that so hard to understand?

Humans are only a recent experiment. It appears everyday to be a failed experiment at that. The Hopi believe the future they see does not have be that way and may turn out to not be that way because things can and do change.

Meanwhile I feel like I am being watched.
and I know now that it is not my imagination. Rather than be paranoid (unreasonable delusions of being persecuted) I am creating an illusion of truth so now when I look around I can see that damn rock watching me. It's OK, so far it is friendly.
Just imagine that the one on top thinks that he/she is flying. Think is the wrong word here just like when talking about politicians. Is this a turtle version of a threesome? There is so much I don't understand.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Hi, My Name Is Richard And I Am A Thrift Store Addict

As I have said before I am a thrift store junky. It has become the custom for me, when I venture out in the world by automobile, to visit at least one thrift store. I know where they all are. I schedule my car for use at least one day a week now after letting it sit so long this last summer that it became a static display. It is 23 years old and dislikes non use. After a week it starts going back to the component parts from which it is made. In a year it would be a pile of rust with plants growing out of it. It would be iron rich soil. Around here it doesn't take long for nature to take back what has been wrested from it. While I was still flying pipeline patrol I watched a school bus completely disappear in a back field in Mississippi where it had been abandoned. It took less than two years. I am not exaggerating. I knew exactly where it was and from 400 feet I could no longer even make out its shape.

Why don't I get rid of my car you ask? Well as I have explained in a prior post it would cost me about as much using hired transportation without the convenience. Clearly I could live without any motorized transportation and using only my feet but I choose not to. It would be a very primitive existence and that is coming soon enough. I allow myself one gallon of gas a week for this and I get a thrift store fix.

This particular store is in a little town about 10 miles from my hovel.
I love the book section and in the distance hundreds of "things". I find music boxes, brass things and, across the aisle, cookware. I'm a sucker for that but I use everything at least once and while.

Need to clothe thyself? You can walk out of here with a suitcase full of hardly used (some not at all) for under $20.00 and that includes the suitcase. Did I mention that I buy belts to cut up for the leather for other projects?
Taken around Christmas 2009.Friendly cashiers today.

Friday has become the regular day for "thrift storing" as it is a day when my favorite thrift store is open. They are only open Tuesday and Friday from 0700 to 1200. They open on the first Saturday of the month four hours to accommodate those slaves that are not free during the work week. They are all volunteers and all the proceeds go to the food bank which is located in a house next door. I understand they have been doing this for over 20 years and are feeding about 1000 people that are in dire need every year. Determined people can do good things while politicians are talking about it.

They sell very nice stuff really cheap. I buy odds and ends for projects that are in progress and some I haven't thought of yet. The handle bar bag on my cargo bike is a 50 cent purse from there as is the right side saddle bag. Recently I bought two brand new 700 x 38c Avocet tires for 35 cents each. I thought I'd resell them but I've only seen one bike here that uses that size and it's my Peugeot but it has new tires. Anybody need some tires? Pay the postage.

I always buy something. It may be only a few 5 cent candles, $1.50 oil lamp or a brass plate for 35 cents. If I find I cannot use what I bought it's cheap enough that I can just donate it back. I consider it a lending library for a fee. I buy a book read it or not then donate it back. Works for me.

Things I have bought include; a complete set of copper clad stainless pots and pans - $1.75, in use daily now.
The wool for my wool kilt was $1.75 I think and it was enough for 2 kilts. Beautiful material.
The best bread knifes I have ever had - 10 cents each. I am a bread maker and appreciate a good bread knife.
Leather motorcycle jacket for my bride - $5.00. This is a $200 jacket and she will never wear it but I know she wanted one . That is good enough for me. It is a beautiful jacket.
Music boxes, bed sheets, pillow covers, candle sticks, lamps, but the best are things I can re-purpose or use the parts for other projects. I just replaced the cheap knobs on a cheap kitchen cabinet with some nice wooden knobs that I picked up for 25 cents. Nuts, bolts, screws, electrical components and
extension cords for pennies on the dollar. I am currently watching for a hair dryer to use as a blower for my forge project. People donate new and near new stuff. I seldom buy luxury items like music boxes and leather jackets but because I save so much on the things I am going to buy to continue living in some sort of comfort I can afford them. The list is endless and I think the gallon of gas is well worth it.
This is the handbag table. I have taken two handle bar bags from here and one very nice shopping bag that is big enough to make into a pannier. Right around the corner there are bags and suitcase that I have yet to finish going through.
These people have fun doing this work. I have only met one sourpuss here and it was a customer but I was grumpy that day and it could have been just me. Not.

Today I came home with a beautiful wool blend tweed jacket that I would never have spent the money for when it was in the retail store. It has no detectable wear I can find. In fact it is far better than a custom jacket I had a tailor make for me many years ago when I was rich with money. $2.40 USD is quite a bit less than I paid for the tailor made jacket. I need to shorten the sleeves but my bride the seamstress showed me how so that will soon be done.

I'm taking my room mate SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) there on a date tomorrow morning it being the first Saturday of the month. I'm going to be the big spender.