Apr 5 2011

function over form [day 313]

When you own a lot of stuff, especially anything with electronic parts, you’re going to have some maintenance to do.  Some will be planned, some will not.  Here’s a few things I’ve been thinking about buying if I could.

Car fuses.

I blew a fuse in my car.  It’s the fuse to the interior dome lights, but worse than that, it’s also the fuse to my garage door opener.  I don’t have any extra fuses so I’m living without these things.  It’s not so bad, as it’s teaching me to appreciate the small things in life.  I’ve never appreciated that machine that opens my garage door.  Now I use the back door instead of the garage door.  It’s less electricity, and the only time it’s a real hassle is if it’s raining or we’re bringing home groceries.

A water filter.

I would buy a water filter for my Softub.  Although yesterday, I moved the tub into its new location on the patio and now the GFCI plug isn’t working.  Gor $75 I can buy a new one, however the Softub tech isn’t even sure that’s the problem.  I’m going to take it apart and see for myself, but then what are the chances of finding a used part like that?  I’m guessing slim to none.  Not sure what I’m going to do if I can’t get it working.  I definitely will not be selling it, as I use it a lot.

A grill.

Yes, I finally got tired of fighting with my temperamental Brinkmann grill and I sold it on craigslist.  What?  You want to know what I got for it?  $60 cash.  It retailed new for $1,100, I paid $69.99 approximately 2 years ago.  In that time, the burners were replaced and the gas valve with tubing was replaced.  Even with the replacement parts, it was always a mystery as why it would work some of the time, but not all of the time.  I just got tired of fighting with it.  And yes, I sold it “as is” with a full disclosure of the issues I had with it.

As I was researching new grills (planing to buy one used), I came across this really cool looking grill.  It’s a Fuego Element, it’s designer a previous Apple product designer.  After some research, it seems as though this sexy looking grill is just not the easiest to use.  The top gets hot and it’s not attached so you have to place the hot lid somewhere when cooking.  The cast iron grates need care to prevent them from rusting.  In my efforts to downsize, this grill is super-appealing in its size.  But do I want the maintenance?

I looked at many other grills, I’ve read consumer reports on them, but I’m still unsure of my next grill purchase.  I used my old one a lot and got my money’s worth, but I want something smaller and simple.  I’m also looking at a Minden grill.  This is unique, as you can add features to it later like a side burner and ice chest.  The reviews are good, but it’s so new, there aren’t any used ones available.

I’m still deciding what to do about all of these situations.  The no shopping is making it a hassle for the small things, like the fuses, but it’s provoking some creativity in finding solutions for the big things.  I’ll keep you posted on the outcome of these situations.  I’m prioritizing function over form, but that’s easier said than done sometimes.


Mar 27 2011

macbook [minimalist challenge item #38]

[item] Black MacBook (broken)

[purchase info] Purchased on craigslist used

[time in my possession] Approximately 4 years

[last used] Almost 3 years ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Craigslist

[info] This was a gift to my kids for Christmas, I paid for part of it and their dad paid for part of it.  It quit working after several months, and I’m pretty sure I just bought a bad laptop.  It’s better to buy used electronics from someone you know and trust.  Lesson learned.  Expensive lesson learned.


Mar 7 2011

like new computer backpack bag [minimalist challenge item #18]

[item] Case Logic backpack 17″ computer bag

[purchase info] Purchased about a year ago for around $35 online

[time in my possession] Approximately a year

[last used] Almost a year ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Medium

[destination] Craigslist (this is still for sale, please comment if interested)

[info] This is like new, it was only used once.  I bought two, one for my computer and one for my kids.  They don’t need one, as I don’t allow them to take the laptop anywhere, it’s set up as a desktop.


Mar 6 2011

17″ macbook shoulder bag [minimalist challenge item #17]

[item] InCase 17″ MacBook padded shoulder bag

[purchase info] I got this as a gift for my birthday

[time in my possession] A little over 2 years

[last used] About a year ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Medium

[destination] Craigslist (It’s still for sale, comment if you’re interested)

[info] I got this as a gift, so it’s a little bit difficult to get rid of it.  I have a backpack bag now, but I used this one for 1.5 years and it’s still in great condition.


Oct 26 2010

yes, I went to the mall [day 152]

I know!!  But I had a good reason!  Three actually…

#1 – Friendship

My friend Susan, who is a walking miracle and an awesome woman, can’t drive right now.  She had major surgery and is on a no driving restriction for several months.  I’m off work on Mondays so I asked if she needed to go anywhere.  She said the mall.  Everyone around us stopped, looked and laughed.  It’s ironic, but I’m all about a trip to the mall.  I would not buy anything there even if I could, so it was safe.

#2 – Recycling

Aveda will take all of your plastic bottle caps and tops and will recycle them to make caps for their future products.  Most of the local recycling programs only take the big stuff, but not the lids.

I brought in my bags of lids and they gladly took them.  I knew someday I would end up at the mall and decided to collect these until that day came.  Now I can refill my little container that sits next to my recycling bin.   Continue reading


Sep 30 2010

bad design [day 126]

Yes, I’m a fan of apple products.  In the graphics world, their products are far superior and much more dependable than PC’s.  With one exception.  Power cords.  My G4 Powerbook went to my kids after almost 5 years.  It still works great, and it was my main computer until a few months ago.  It has to be plugged in because the battery is almost dead and we can’t buy a new one right now.  Not that I want to anyway with a $129 price tag on it.

My kids use this computer for homework, school projects, and sometimes games.  That is, until last night when power cord #3 caught on fire.  Cord #1 just quit working when it wasn’t in the perfect position.  #2 caught on fire after shooting sparks everywhere.  With all of the well planned, wonderfully designed products they have, how did a new power cord design not ever cross their minds?  The replacement cords cost $89, if I remember correctly.  The new MacBook cords are similar in design, but made from much stronger materials.  Will it last?  I have no idea. Continue reading


Jul 19 2010

the challenge: day 52 [iSticker… iDitched it]

iDecided to take the Apple logo off the back of my car.  iWent outside after church, going to my car and saw a guy taking a photo of the sticker on the back of my car.  It made me think about transition of propaganda to advertising over the past few decades and what iAm saying with my car stickers.  iHad an Apple sticker, the one pictured on the right and a church sticker of tinselectomy.com.

iAm quite sure Apple gets plenty of advertising and iDo very much like their products, however iWould rather advertise for the small mom & pop type places or organizations doing great acts of compassion.  iSaw this display of Apple stickers, and iHave to say, it’s a very cute use of them, but do the retail giants really need more advertising?  iKnow of a few homeless shelters and food banks that could use a little push.  Those are the stickers iPlan to put on my car.

iTook the Apple sticker off yesterday.  iHave the same feeling about my clothing, iJust don’t want to be a name-brand walking, driving, working, living advertisement for large corporations.  iAm not saying the retail giants are all evil or bad, but they have taken over the majority of retail stores and restaurants, making it difficult for the smaller places to survive.  Most cities have turned into Cookiecuttersville, USA.  Chain stores, mega-marts and strip malls as far as the eye can see.  Again, iWant to say these are not bad, but please support the mom and pop places in your neighborhood.  Do you know where they are?  iKnow many in my area, and to support them, my friend E and iAre going to start a blog to support these places.  More to come on that soon.

Those who say we cannot make a difference shouldn’t interrupt the people making a difference.  :)


Jun 30 2010

the challenge: day 34 [digital hoarders and dead computers]

I just realized something yesterday, not only do I have some hoarding tendencies, I’m clearly a digital hoarder.  I save all of my files, even the ones I know I will never use again.  I have several binders filled with disks, many of them useless due to technology changes over the past several years.

At the risk of age stamping myself here, my first computer was a 286 Packard Bell, 40 megabyte hard drive, 1 megabyte RAM, 5 1/4 floppy drive & 3.5 floppy drive.  Wow.  Realization number 2, I’m a mental hoarder too.  Who remember this kind of stuff??!?!  Sadly, I didn’t have to look it up.

I said this in an earlier blog post, the only difference between 99.9% of us and the people on the Hoarders TV show, is that we can, and do, part with our stuff.  Can you imagine how many computers are in landfills?  Planned obsolescence on computers is what, 4 years at best?  The oldest computer I own is approximately 8 years old.  It runs a few old PC programs and sometimes, my vinyl plotter.  My other “old” computer is a G4 PowerBook.  It’s 4.5 years old, runs slow, but not bad for its age, however the screen started to go last week.

Like most of my stuff, I will keep these until they die.  When the inevitable death arrives, I will find a program for electronics recycling or…

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