I would replace my Kindle Voyage with a Kindle Voyage

I mistakenly left my e-reader, a Kindle Voyage behind, in a hotel room last weekend. Faced with with the fear of having lost my most favored device, I pondered its replacement. Read the rest

This $7 magnifying glass with alligator clips comes in 'handy'

This small magnifying glass on a stand comes in very handy when I need a third one.

Can you hold this?

Living solo has taught me that delicate tasks on small objects can be a real pain. Having only a ten-year-old, with the manual dexterity of a 10-year-old, around the house as an assistant sometimes causes a lot of unpleasant yelling. This helpful magnifying glass with some alligator clips reduces my instances of grumping-at-child markedly.

SE MZ101B Helping Hand with Magnifying Glass via Amazon

Image via Amazon Read the rest

My dog has never had a Snausage

As a youngster of 10 or 11 I walked around saying "snausages" over and over, just like the dog in this commercial. This was common practice for every kid in my elementary school.

Snausages are evidently still for sale, but neither of my dogs have ever seen one. Read the rest

Spirograph in a tin, just like you remember

I gave my daughter a spirograph for Valentine's Day.

I spent hours doodling with a spirograph as a kid. My set came in a tin pretty much just like this one.

It is tempting to wallpaper her room with individual spirograph doodles.

Spirograph Design Tin Set via Amazon Read the rest

What if my Buddy grew up?

I like to imagine what My Buddy would be like all grown up.

"Buddy" is probably doing hard time for hard crime. Where were their parents? Read the rest

White Supremacists who are running for office

Huffington Post published this list of open neo-Nazi and white supremacists running for office.

HuffPo includes a number of assholes who are also white-supremacy-adjacent, as well. Some cowards simply use the dog-whistles and encourage the ideas of racism, while not posting photos of themselves in SS-esque outfits complaining about Jewish folk.

Via HuffPo:

There are at least three white supremacists currently running for Congress, and a fourth running for a state House seat. Two other candidates — one of whom can unambiguously be called a white supremacist, and one who has ties to white supremacist groups but denies being a white supremacist himself — announced runs for public office, but have since dropped out of their respective races.

Still more Republican candidates, many of whom are running for re-election, have used white supremacist slogans, invited white supremacists to official government events, or granted interviews to racist or anti-Semitic publications.

It’s important to identify these candidates, not only so people know who’s on their ballot, but because ― as we’ve seen ― someone who’s thought of as fringe one year can be in the White House the next.

Read the rest

'Monday Starts on Saturday' is an absurdist romp thru a dystopian Bell Labs

Monday Starts on Saturday is the Strugatsky brothers' uniquely Soviet take on the future of research and the institutions that perform it. This gem from 1964 is not to be missed.

Sasha, a young computer programmer, is recruited by some hitchhikers to join them at their off-the-rails think-tank: the National Institute for the Technology of Witchcraft and Thaumaturgy. Imagine Harry Potter's Ministry of Magic, set in the Soviet Union and given the noble task of researching true happiness for all people, regardless the cost.

Better known as NITWiT, the institute is home to a dizzying array of sideways experiments, baffling discoveries and talking animals. The Strugatsky's viciously parody dysfunctional element of a bureaucratic, government-run research facility, lambasting the politics, laziness and narcissism while also sharing some wonderful characters and mind bending experiments. NITWiT's director doesn't exist in linear time, Baba Yaga's hut is running around in the back ground and Maxwell's "macrodemons" make a fantastic appearance.

I have only read this translation, but others are available online, at least in-part free.

Monday Starts on Saturday by Boris and Arkday Strugatsky, translated by Andrew Bromfield via Amazon Read the rest

Pretty-looking, RFID-blocking passport and ID card sleeves

I got a new Passport and Passport card, time for new RFID sleeves.

The new REAL ID stuff in the US is a pain. My California drivers license still doesn't emit any RF I know of, but my US Passport, Passport card and a few other forms of government ID I sometimes carry do.

This lovely-to-look-at set includes 10 card sized sleeves and 2 passport for $7.29. More than I'll likely need.

Credit Card Holder Protector Passport Holder Protector Sleeves 10 RFID Credit Card Sleeves, 2 RFID Passport Sleeves via Amazon

Image via Amazon.com Read the rest

I'm planting most of my garden in Earthboxes this year

I'm a huge fan of the Earthbox. My best crops of tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, and corn have all been from these wonderful self-watering containers.

I really like gardening in self-watering containers. I have made my own, but after a number of seasons, I've found that that the Earthbox-brand, commercially produced with plastics that last in the outdoors, last a lot longer. There is also no guess work with soil vs. reservoir depth.

I've ordered 4 new Earthboxes to compliment the two I have been using for nearly 10 years. The best tips and tricks I can offer for container gardening are to simply follow the directions from Earthbox. I've bought a few books, I've scoured the interweb forums for info, and honestly nothing has helped more than doing it exactly the way Earthbox suggests.

I may try some of California's newly legal recreational plant in a box as well. Who knows, everything else likes to grow in them...

EarthBox Terracotta Container Gardening System via Amazon

Image and video courtesy Earthbox.com Read the rest

Yes, they still make Bufferin

I had no idea Bufferin was still for sale. I will try this instead of marijuana for the chronic pain my deteriorating lumbar discs deliver.

Thanks, Jeff!

Bufferin Regular Strength Buffered Aspirin Tablets-Odorless, White to Off-White-130 ct via Amazon

Image via Amazon.com Read the rest

Oneita Jackson's "Nappy-Headed Negro Syndrome"

Oneita Jackson is a national treasure. You should read Nappy-Headed Negro Syndrome, her amazing collection of short stories!

A few years ago I took a trip to Michigan, selling ads for Boing Boing. While there a friend arranged a tour of revival Detroit; this was the first I'd met Oneita Jackson.

Oneita is a magical tour-guide, a fantastic journalist, and the best damn cab driver you'll ever meet. She knows absolutely everyone in Detroit worth knowing, and was so incredibly enthusiastic that I will never forget the experience.

When Oneita sent me a copy of Nappy-Headed Negro Syndrome I knew I had to read it that very day. This collection chronicles the experiences of a highly educated black woman as she moves about the many circles in American culture. Her stories will make you laugh, and you will facepalm, and most of all you will THINK.

The following story is a wonderful introduction to Oneita's work. I think these are as much poetry as short story.

BLACK PEOPLE KNIT

by Oneita Jackson

I said I was a knitter, but that’s not what she heard.

We were at a loud party at my friend’s house in West Village and I was the only One.

It didn’t matter that we were having a polite and interesting conversation, one of those getting-to- know-you, how-do-you-know-so-and-so (read: Why are YOU here?) conversations, where my announcement would have been inappropriate, moreover, inappropriate, moreover, awkward, o -topic, out of context, strange.

Arresting.

“I’m a nigger.”

What dumb-ass nigger says that at a white- people’s party?

Read the rest

Limited edition Bicycle Karnival Midnight deck of playing cards

This purple and black deck of cards is absolutely lovely.

I like to tell myself that decks with lovely and unexpected art work distract people from mistakes as I'm performing sleight of hand. Mostly, I just like fancy decks of cards.

Limited Edition Karnival Midnight Purple Deck Playing Cards by Bicycle via Amazon

Image courtesy Amazon.com Read the rest

$14 Humidity control for at-home cannabis storage

When I'm storing weed, either in small or large (for me) amounts, I use Boveda 62% humidity control packs. Read the rest

Superb Owl 2018

This owl was a gift from an absolutely lovely woman. I declare it Superb Owl 2018. Read the rest

Tweet-bot shares Prince Vultan's greatest hits

I woke up this morning thinking the world needed a Prince Vultan tweet-bot.

You know he'll say it sooner or later...

Jack Burton is still talking to whomever is listening, and Sherman T. Botter contiues to share Potterisms. Read the rest

DIY cat scratching post, fun but spendy

I made my own cat scratching post out of sisal cord and a poster tube. It cost more than just buying one.

50' of 3/8" sisal rope ($0.25/foot) winds almost perfectly around a 30" by 2" diameter poster tube ($3.33.) My daughter and I had a wonderful time wrapping the tube up, securing the ends with binder clips, and then using a strip of old bedsheet to hang the scratcher from a doorknob! Rubbing a little catnip on it encourages our Maine Coon to scratch away!

Total cost invested was around $15.00.

Even if reusing the tube, binder clips, and sheet I can easily find an equivalent scratcher for less. Even using cheaper cord only changes things by a few cents.

I'll put the two side-by-side and we can see the wear over time and judge which is more popular. Perhaps my cat will appreciate the love and effort that went into making him a toy.

Riiiight.

Petlinks Hanging Rope Relief Cat Scratcher via Amazon Read the rest

Testing USB battery pack capacity with a USB multi-meter

I tested the capacity of two USB battery packs using two different USB multi-meters. The results did not surprise me.

I recently acquired two $10-each USB multi-meters, the Powerjive and a DROK . The Powerjive is "easier" to use. The DROK handles more complex advanced charging protocols like Qualcomm 2.0 quick charging, and is less intuitive. The DROK read-out is brighter and the red/blue LEDs are easier to read, but there are several different screens to click thru to pretty much get the same results as the PowerJive's one dim screen.

I have two USB battery packs that I love. My 10k pack is 3 years old and has shown some loss of capacity on my "Hey, this isn't lasting as long as it used to" meter. I had estimated the battery lost 30% of its capacity. The 15k unit is new as of last month and should be capable of its marketed capacity.

I drained each battery pack by playing endless streamed video on my Fire HD 10 tablet, and my iPhone 7+. On the 10k unit this involved the blue lights going dead. The 15k brick will flash a single blue LED to indicate "charge me" without draining the battery. You may also use the USB multi-meters to measure how quickly a device burns through the pack. The Amazon tablet is pretty damn efficient, and I got hours and hours of video out of the 15k unit.

I charged each battery from "empty" until the mAh counters on the respective USB meter stopped ticking up. Read the rest

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