Thursday, January 13, 2011

In which RG demonstrates genius

I don't go through too much cornstarch, but the cornstarch I do use I keep in this jar. I have to refill it about every year. To do so, I go to Herb & Spice on Bank Street, which sells it in bulk.

It seems that the last time I refilled the jar, I noticed how difficult it was to get the powdery cornstarch into the narrow-mouthed jar with the wide scoop. So I scribbled on the bottom of the jar in permanent marker, "Need large mouth funnel to refill".

Good that I did, because in the time that had passed since I had last refilled my cornstarch jar, I had forgotten about the funnel requirement; however, after washing the jar and inverting it onto the dishrack, I saw the note and was reminded!

Ain't that clever?

- RG>

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Another swap box at Elgin Bridgehead, another repair by RG

[Edit: added photo of hook to close swap box at end.]

Heading out from Bridgehead last night, I was thrilled to find a new one of el maks' trademark Swap Boxes on the post which formerly held this box, which helped save a life. Here 'tis:

Unfortunately, on opening it, I found it to be very empty. There was about $0.13 in change, and a gambling chip I had just put in (I always have a trinket with me In Case Of Swap Box*). While the box was large, it was shallow, making it hard for anything to stay inside. I took this photo with a ruler so I could fashion something of the right size help hold things in. I was thinking along the lines of a panel of clear plastic packaging stapled across the front.

(*title for your next book, Maks?)

Getting home, I looked at my inventory of paraphernalia and found a Ferrero Rocher box my dad gave me at Christmas (a tradition. I was very disappointed the year he gave me Toblerone instead of Ferrero Rocher for Christmas, though I would have accepted Toblerone and Ferrero Rocher). The box was exactly the right width, it just needed to be opened on one end. Here it is trimmed, taped on the sharp cut edge, with some of the cutting tools I employed to try to cut it to the right size. (The laziest, easiest way I found was scoring it with a knife and/or glass-cutting tool, then clipping it with wire clippers carefully. It will not be a clean cut on the discard side).

I had also pre-drilled some holes in the plastic for small screws to hold it in, making sure not to put the holes too close to the edge, lest my hand and the mini-screwdriver not fit in the gap. I then installed it in situ tonight, first marking the holes, then pre-screwing the screws to make the holes, undoing them, then putting them back in with the plastic piece in place. Worked like a charm (and I only measured once!). El Maks approves! See comments.

Then I populated the box with some new stuff I had brought, "swapping" out the gambling chip I had put in the night before (it had been so long since I'd seen a swap box, I had gotten used to this thing in my pocket) and most of the useless goddamn pennies. The extra benefit of this Ferrero Rocher box is that there is a bevelled edge, making it easier to pull things out of the box.

Unfortunately, maks painted the wooden box over its smooth finish, and the paint is chipping off in the cold. Nothing we can do about that.

Also, because of the way the box is attached to the post, the door doesn't close very well.

I fashioned a simple hook out of a piece of wire just now and will install it next time I'm down there, so that the box's contents will be protected from the elements. [Edit: done. See below.]

I'm grateful to Maks for making (and installing?) the box. It's been so long since we've had one in Centretown since he moved to Montreal. It's up to us to make sure it's well used and well kept!

- RG>

Monday, January 03, 2011

This is why I don't buy music from online

Fuck Windows Media Player.

A while back, I used Audacity to rip my LP of Billy Joel's the Stranger to mp3 so I could listen to it on my Blackberry.

More recently, I noticed that a few of the tracks weren't on the album.

Today, I discovered the source of the problem: Windows Media Player ~helpfully downloaded updated track information for this album, including numbering half the tracks as Track 4. It then overwrote the file information on my hard disk with these new details.

Because it saw a number of "Track 4"s, it also did me the favour of removing the extras from my library. And apparently the default setting is to automatically delete files from my hard drive when deleted from my library.

Now that I've disabled those settings, I'm hoping that I will have the original on my backup drive at home. If not, at least I still have the LP and I can rip it again.

- RG>

Thought of the [undefined period of time] #12

Tidying the house isn't so much about putting things away as it is about moving things one step closer to where they belong.

Previous undefined period of time: 1 month, 17 days, 17h24

- RG>