Archive for the 'General' Category

On the Nomenclature And Design of Tie, Scarf, And, If You Insist, Stick Pins

This is a tie pin:

It’s probably late Georgian or early Victorian – 1830-1850 – and it’s not, alas, mine; it belongs to a friend. (Were it mine, I’d have polished it. Silver’s supposed to shine, y’know.)

Anyway, I enjoy vintage jewelry as much as the next fellow. Actually, I probably enjoy it more than the next fellow, because part of the enjoyment I derive is knowing and understanding how the pieces were made. It’s an invaluable skill, not only because it lets you spot modern reproductions more easily, but because it helps you appreciate the amount of labor and effort that went – goes – into making entirely handmade jewelry.

Anyway, tie pins – which are two to two-and-a-half inches long, pretty much always; anything much longer than that is almost certainly a hat pin – are fun little pieces of history because they’re obsolete, because they’re inexpensive, and because they’re unisex.
Read the rest of this entry »

Published in: General | on August 23rd, 2012 | Comments Off on On the Nomenclature And Design of Tie, Scarf, And, If You Insist, Stick Pins

Did You Hear the One About the Goat?

Or, indeed, the other one about the goat?

I figured I’d mention here two recent electronic publications of mine that might be of interest to a couple readers:

At the beginning of April I published a romantic comedy novella called “All The Wrong Reasons”. It’s a tale of awkwardness, misunderstanding, humor, and a goat. In a nutshell, it’s the story of a dangerously genre-savvy young idiot and the woman he desperately wants not to fall in love with. Hijinks ensue, and all that kind of thing.

Just another typical story of mine, really. 🙂

You can get it at Amazon or Kobo or iTunes or Barnes and Noble or at Smashwords in all those formats and more.

Spurred on by a reader’s request (and egged on by my own Imp of the Perverse) I then wrote and published “Midnight’s Tale”, which tells the story of the goat in All The Wrong Reasons. My tenth published ebook, it’s a finely-crafted piece of belles lettres Serious Literature about life, love, and livestock.

It’s available at Amazon and at Smashwords in all the various ereader formats. The one person who’s bought a copy so far found it extremely compelling, apparently. You’d probably like it, too…

Published in: Geekiness, General | on May 25th, 2012 | Comments Off on Did You Hear the One About the Goat?

Reviving Old Raleigh 3-Speed Pedals On the Cheap

One of my relatives recently decided to take up bicycling. While this is good, because exercise is a good thing, blah blah blah, I was tasked with both finding them a suitable bicycle, and ensuring its functionality.

Their criteria was fairly simple: It had to be a diamond frame (i.e. a “men’s bike”), it had to have upright handlebars, and it could have no more than five speeds. (I have no idea why, either. I just do what I’m told.)

My criteria was a bit more complicated: It had to actually fit them, it had to be in decent mechanical shape, it had to not use a buttload of proprietary-sized parts or need obscure proprietary tools to work on, and it had to not be a super attractive theft-magnet, because they are probably only going to use a cable lock, not a u-lock, and we’d both feel bad if it got stolen.

I almost wavered on the last one – there was a gorgeous 1950s BSA three-speed on Craigslist, fully restored, for $150 – but in the end I persevered, and we wound up with…
Read the rest of this entry »

Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on May 20th, 2012 | 1 Comment »

Some Things Maybe Shouldn’t Be Recycled

China takes a lot of crap on environmental grounds, and rightly so, but you do have to admire their entrepreneurial spirit when it comes to recycling, especially of electronics. One country’s trash is another country’s treasure.

It doesn’t get talked about a whole lot, but there’s a thriving industry in China that salvages and recycles electronics – and a whole other thriving industry that sells or re-uses the recovered material. Semiconductors are a popular bit of booty. Need some long-obsolete chips? Someone in China probably has a drawer full of ’em, desoldered from junked equipment.

All those cellphone LCDs that Arduino folks and other electronics enthusiasts like to play around with? They’re not spare parts being sold by service centers – a huge number of them are recovered from broken phones.

And that, in a way, brings me to the subject of today’s post: Solar chargers.
Read the rest of this entry »

Published in: Geekiness, General | on May 2nd, 2012 | 1 Comment »

Dear Amazon: What Do You Have Against Cleams, Anyway?

Earlier this week, I purchased some rechargeable batteries from Amazon. These batteries, in fact.

They arrived today.

Do you pay much attention to the packaging your merchandise comes in? I do.
Read the rest of this entry »

Published in: Geekiness, General | on March 15th, 2012 | 2 Comments »