Category Archives: Technology

Crazy Eights

Husband and I received a lovely clock for our wedding almost 35 years ago. It plays Westminster chimes, and has traveled with us from Winnipeg to Indiana to North Dakota.

The clock worked quite well until last year, when it just stopped. We took it to the nearest clock shop in Fargo, where they told us that the innards were all worn out and it needed new ones.  We had a choice of digital or traditional.  I like to wind it, so we had them install new inner workings from Germany. It keeps time again quite well, but it has some quirks that I find alarming.

Some days, randomly, at  8:00 am and/or 8:00 pm, it chimes  continuously for up to three minutes. It plays the Westminster chimes over and over, and then plays variations on the Westminster chimes. When it has got it out of its system,  it rings eight times and gets back to its quiet ticking. It only happens at 8:00.  Some days it doesn’t happen at all.

I don’t know what to think about this.  Ghosts?  Odd German clock maker humor?  Who knows?   I don’t feel like driving it all the way to Fargo for a repair, so we will just put up  with the “Crazy 8’s” and see what new Westminster variations we get.

Tell about some infernal machine problems. What do you think it feels like to be in a time warp?

 

Royal Flush

Today’s commentary comes to us from Ben.

It’s always fun to go into a new restaurant and see what the bathrooms are like. Some are very nice, some are small and rather “quaint” and some barely qualify as up to code.

I was in a hotel that had black mold on the shower tile and that one still qualifies as the worst hotel I’ve ever stayed at.

There’s a business I get to a few times per year and the mens bathroom there has had a broken fluorescent light fixture leaning in the corner for several years and one urinal has had a bag over it just as long.  And I have no idea what the womens bathroom is like. Not even sure where it is to be honest; it’s not right next to the mens anyway. I keep thinking there must be a nicer bathroom for employees someplace. Or maybe that’s just a ploy by the owner to be sure no one spends too much time in there.

I had to take pictures.  Here are the signs on the four stalls:

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And the fun didn’t stop there:

Oh my….

Our townhall still has an outhouse. It’s insured for $500.00. Mens and womens side. Two hole-er on each! But no lights… plan accordingly.

What’s the worst bathroom you’ve used?

 

 

Who’s Gonna Patronize the Big Box Store Any More?

My riff on the weekend topic.

With humble gratitude for Meredith Wilson’s en-chant-ing opening to The Music Man.

PROGRAMMER 1:
Plastic for the orders.
Plastic for the downloads.
PROGRAMMER 2:
Visa for online.
Visa on the phone.
PROGRAMMER 1:
Credit for the software.
Credit for the hardware.
PROGRAMMER 2:
Credit for the needs, and the wants, and the bibelots.
PROGRAMMER 3:
Amazon for the hogs feet, cakes and longjohns.
Amazon for the crackers, and the pickles, and the computer paper.
PROGRAMMER 4:
Look, what do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
PROGRAMMER 5:
Where do you get it?
PROGRAMMER 4:
What do you twitter?
PROGRAMMER 2:
You can script, you can program, you can script,
You can chat. You can twitter, twitter, twitter, you can chat.
You can chat. You can chat, chat, chat, chat, twitter, twitter, twitter.
You can twitter all you wanna, but it’s different than it was.
ANALYST:
No it ain’t, no it ain’t, but you gotta know the database!
PROGRAMMER 3:
Well, it’s Jeff Bezos made the trouble,
Made the people wanna buy, wanna get, wanna get, wanna get it in a box.
7,8,9,10,12,14, 22, 23 orders to the front porch.
PROGRAMMER 1:
Yes, sir, yes, sir!
PROGRAMMER 3:
Who’s gonna patronize a big box store anymore?
PROGRAMMER 4:
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
NEWSPAPER READER 1:
Where do you get it?
ANALYST:
It’s not Amazon alone.
Take a gander at big box stores,
At the postmodern store,
At the out-of-date store
At the passe, postmodern,
Departmentalized big box store.
PROGRAMMER 4:
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
CONSULTANT:
Where do you get it?
PROGRAMMER 4:
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
What do you twitter?
CONSULTANT:
Where do you get it?
PROGRAMMER 1:
You can chat, you can twitter.
You can chat, you can twitter.
You can twitter, twitter, twitter
You can chat, chat, chat.
You can twitter all you wanna,
But it’s different than it was.
ANALYST:
No, it ain’t, but you gotta know the database.
PROGRAMMER 3:
Why, it’s I-need-it-easy thinking
Made the trouble
Need it easy, need it easy.
Put the order in a box, in a box,
What I-need-easy
In a box with a smile
Made the big box store obsolete.
ANALYST:
Obsolete, obsolete, obsolete
SALESMAN 4:
Malls out the window.
The smiling box
Takes the job of the sales clerk.
Closing all the stores.
ANALYST:
Who’s gonna patronize the big box store any more?
PROGRAMMER 3:
Gone, Gone
PROGRAMMER 1:
Gone with the mall and the outlet and the discount store.
Gone with the chain and the retail store with clothes on a rack.
ALL
Who’s gonna patronize a bog box store any more.
Big box store.

What are the long-term implications for America and the world, assuming  I dare worry about the world? 

What follows the Amazon era?

 

Missing the Party

I missed the “biggest shopping event ever”. Not only did I miss it, I didn’t even realize I was missing it.  I’m talking about Prime Day on Amazon.  Turns out that it’s a great big sale for those who are signed up for Prime.  I noticed a story about it the day after it was over – the first I’d heard of it.

Turns out that 100 million products were sold with the FireTV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote leading the way as the number one seller. I don’t even know what a FireTV Stick is.  The Echo Dot came in second.  I don’t know what that is either.  Apparently another big selling item was the Instant Pot multicooker.  I DO know what that is. In fact, if I had been a Prime member and if I’d known about the sale, I might have been interested.  But I don’t spend enough on Amazon in a year to justify the cost of Prime and getting a glorified pressure cooker isn’t a big enough incentive to change that.

But it makes me worry that not only did I now know that this event was happening, I also don’t even know what the top selling items were. Am I out of step with my own culture? Is the world speeding up while I’m slowing down?

Should I worry?

Slice-o-matic

Although I love cooking, I also love any gadget that makes it easier or quicker. So when I saw a strawberry huller online last week, I was intrigued.  Between the jam and the bags of  berries that I freeze every summer, I spend a lot of time over the sink hulling strawberries with a little sharp knife.  I searched around, discovered that the huller was carried at Bed Bath & Beyond and headed over there on my way down to Northfield to get strawberries. I faced the wall of kitchen gadgets and finally found it, a steal at $7.99 if it made the hulling process easier!  Here’s a quick look at how it works:

And it does work, however, not better than my little sharp knife. After all these years I’m pretty fast, transferring the hulled berry to a bowl while picking up the next strawberry with the hand holding the knife.  With the huller, I ended up having to add an extra step of pushing the button to “dump” the stem and sometimes having to pull twisted stem out of the berry.  After the first batch of jam, I went back to the knife.  It does make a very nice uniform hole if you want to fill the strawberries with something but for a big project, it’s not helpful.  Oh well.

This means that my cherry tomato slicer is still my favorite summertime gadget. I usually have tons of cherry tomatoes every year and the little slicer quickly and easily slices the little tomatoes into four bits.  Did I mention it’s fast?  And easy?  At this time of year I use it almost every day.

What’s your favorite summer gadget?

Oven Graveyard

My range/oven is dead. After never giving me a minute’s grief in 27 years, it has given up the ghost. The technician came today; two of the three needed parts are no longer made. I can send the board to be “rebuilt” but it’s only a 50/50 chance that it can be fixed and I’ll be without my oven for at least a month.

Got any good appliance shopping advice?

 

Baby, Wanna Drive My Car?

An earlier blog this week about repairs made me think of a funny story from my youth. My very first car was an old Datsun stick shift.  I don’t even remember what model.  But it was old when I got it, had some rust and eventually a hole rusted through underneath so that when you ran through a puddle, you could easily get splashed INSIDE the car.

My boyfriend at the time (eventually husband, now wasband) and I both wanted to be “handy” so I taught myself how to change the oil/air filter and then we decided to tackle the rust spots. We got a sanding attachment for a drill (which we had to borrow from my downstairs neighbors) and some primer spray paint.  The idea was to sand off the rust, prime it and then paint over it with a coat of matching light blue.   This plan went off the rails in so many places that I can’t believe we didn’t see it coming.  First, as everyone can probably guess, when we started to sand the rust off it became clear that we would probably be sanding straight through if we weren’t careful.  As the old saying goes, the rust was the only thing holding it together in places.  That meant in a few spots, we just sanded it smooth but didn’t get all the rust.   Then, no surprise, the primer didn’t want to stick to the still rusty spots, so we really sprayed it on heavily.  Then we couldn’t match the light blue color of the car for love nor money.  We ended up with seven or eight cans of spray paint and seven or eight swatches of different blues along the back of the car.  BF was sure we could match the color if we went up to the Twin Cities to look (I was living in Northfield at the time).  Since he didn’t want the car to rust while we were working on the correct color matching, he put duct tape patches on all the rusted and primed spots.  (No, I am not making this up.)  From a distance it looked like the car had zits.

We never did find the right color, never did take the duct tape off the zit car. After another few months, we ended up with it in Milwaukee where the car eventually ended its life in the blizzard of 1979.  I’ve never even considered sanding the rust of another car!

What was your first car?