Wednesday, December 14, 2011

That's all, folks.

I've been running this blog for a good seven years now, and it's been fun. I've decided it's time to shut it down and start something new. Ta!

UPDATE: You can now find me at Quart of Soup and a Pudding Pop.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Christmas Is Interesting

Lyrics by Jonathan Coulton.

You have put on your feety pajamas
It's time for a long winter's nap
There's a knock on the door and a stranger is there
He wants you to sit on his lap
He takes your watch and he gives you a hairbrush
Your wife gets a wig on a chain
He says he can't stay
'Cause he's got a long way to go
And it's starting to rain

Christmas is interesting
Like a knife in your heart
Christmas is interesting
How it tears you apart
Christmas is interesting
Like a stick in your eye
It's so freaking interesting
That it might make you cry

So you're an elf, but you'd rather be a dentist
Maybe you're a train with square wheels
Maybe you're a squirt gun that only shoots jam
Now you know how Jesus feels
He is riding a sleigh he calls Rosebud
His mansion is lonely and cold
He can't remember a pleasant December
When he wasn't tired and old

Christmas is interesting
Like a knife in your heart
Christmas is interesting
How it tears you apart
Christmas is interesting
Like a stick in your eye
It's so freaking interesting
That it might make you cry

So you're drunk and your name is Jimmy Stewart
You once had a wonderful life
Then you lost all your money, you cracked up your car
You yelled at your favorite wife
You go to bed and you wait for Jacob Marley
He comes to make you feel brave
But under his cloak he is nothing but smoke
And a finger that points at your grave

Christmas is interesting
Like a knife in your heart
Christmas is interesting
How it tears you apart
Christmas is interesting
Like a stick in your eye
It's so freaking interesting
That it might make you cry

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Since when does "ephemera" mean "the machine that makes the paper"?

While I don't personally own any large appliances (I have them and use them, but I didn't buy them and they're not in my name), I have been exposed to their premature failure. Therefore, this little story about "Krappetown" rings a little too true for comfort. My godmother is a great believer is extended warranties and service contracts, and it serves her well. For example, she bought a new washing machine (fairly) recently, and she's had to have it repaired probably four or five times already. Last visit, the repairman said her old dryer would probably outlast the new washer. Thing's a plastic piece of junk. She's had similar issues with her fridge refusing to chill properly. And a couple weeks ago, the furnace in my side (the apartment side) of the house conked out -- the pilot light/element/whatever wouldn't stay lit/glowing/whatever, and I had no heat. (No big deal, comfort-wise; this was before it got really cold, and the apartment is crazy insulated.) The furnace is only a few years old, but the circuit board was already bad. Would have cost some $450 without the service contract. So service contracts, I have learned, are pretty awesome; but I'm of the opinion that they shouldn't be needed in the first place. At least, not in at least the first five years of an appliance's life.

The column linked above also talks about computers. Now there, I've been lucky. I had a Gateway desktop when I started college, and when I upgraded to a laptop after three years I picked up a Toshiba. Worth mentioning is that my parents took the desktop to replace their old clunker of a PC, and as far as I know it kept ticking for another four years or so. Lappy 1 lasted about four years before bluescreening, and Lappy 2 has ticked along nicely for right about three years now. It shows no signs of slowing down except for the Internet cable jack, which was my fault. (Did you know a USB plug almost fits exactly in there? And that it's not too hard to force in if you're not paying attention? And that once that happens, a cat-5 cable will never sit snugly in there again, leading to jiggling and cursing and shouts of "Come on, stay connected already! I wanna see the funny cat!"? Yeah. Come to think of it, I should probably get that fixed.)

Anyway, all of that to say: I'm not one of those hardcore "Buy American, or buy nothing" types; I just want a good product at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, that's getting harder and harder to find, from U.S. or any manufacturers. The same repairman who commented about the old dryer outlasting the new washer also said that if the washer had been made with quality metal parts (like, say, 40 years ago), it would last, sure, but it would also cost twice as much in the store. A $400 appliance would run you $800 at least. I really don't know where to assign the blame for that. Fiat currency, the cost of fuel, greedy executives, consultants, planetary alignment -- it's all such a mish-mash of factors that I kinda gave up on making sense out of it. Maybe when I get my own place I'll go retro for appliances, outfitting my kitchen and laundry room in avacado or powder blue sheet metal that's older than I am instead of brand new brushed steel. (Which would be awesome for lots of reasons besides reliability. And for the record, my current stove is avocado, and it is indeed awesome.) I think it's part of why kids these days (heh) are so into manual typewriters and record players and big retro bicycles and things like that -- they're solid, and they don't feel like they'll crap out after three years so you have to get the latest model. On the other hand, they've all got iPhones. *sigh*

If you need me, I'll be on Craigslist, window shopping.