Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fixing clothes

The underwire in my bra tore through the fabric casing and I was just about to toss it when I decided to give fixing it a try. You might not be able to see in this picture but I did a little weaving with needle and thread, making the closure stronger (hopefully).

If it works I saved roughly 50 dollars on a new bra.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What we can learn from preppers

There's a growing awareness of a sector of the citizenry who believes the country/world is about to go belly-up and be ready for the coming food riots and what-not.  This involves things like canning tons of food and buying toilet paper in bulk, but it also involves things like arming oneself heavily and being ready to fight off home invasions by food rioters or whatever.  I'm sure there are lots of grays in there, but when you prepare yourself in such a way for any catastrophic event, economically or otherwise, you have a pretty fucked-up worldview.

I don't consider myself a commie for saying that the "I got mine" mentality doesn't fit the American ideal of working together as a nation for the common good, and I believe, fundamentally, that most people will work together if faced with a disaster.  The most recent example of this is that, right after the explosions at the Boston Marathon, the runners went right to the blood donation tents to help out.  That's not a small thing.  That's a small fraction of our country's population engaging in civic ideals that we invite all Americans to participate in.

But, back to the preppers, the reason why I've become aware of them is actually through my curiosity with low-tech/no-tech ways of doing things, like just today I was wondering if it would be possible to get a washing tub with a wringer attachment, like my paternal grandmother had (hers was electric, though, so extra fancy), and I found this YouTube video by LDS Prepper on the setup they made from a washtub, an agitating tool (The blue plunger-looking thing) and a wringer they purchased from an automotive shop.  It looks like it would all work, but the video itself is kind of boring.

Watch this video at your own peril:

Preppers, in all their misguided attempts to prepare for cataclysmic events, are going to show the rest of us that we can live more simply and with less electricity by using more primitive power.  I can get behind this - why do I ride a bicycle?  It's people-powered and I'm independent of the gas and oil industry when I ride my bike.  It's also pretty fun.   My work with the 1870's Living History Farm showed me that it's a lot of people-energy, but cooking and cleaning without electricity is possible.  So, we can take a lesson out of the playbook of the rapture-ready preppers in that living without electricity is not the end of the world.  Oh, wait.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Grist experiment: Vegan for a month

Just finished Elizabeth Kwak-Hefferan's insightful piece, "What I learned from a month of eating vegan."  Her analysis can be summed up as, "I didn't transform into a vegan at the end of one month, but I am more vegan than I was to begin with."  I think that astutely vibes my own experience with veganism, which me and the Old Man tried back in the wild and wacky Aughts, when our son, Dude Junior (DJ), was about 6 months old.  I was all caught up in a frenzy of ethical eating and thought it would help me and the OM improve our health and possibly drop some pounds.  There was one problem; my father-in-law, God love him, doesn't cotton to hippy-dippy stuff like veganism and neither of us had the reproductive organs to tell the g-rents we were keeping vegan.  So, we ended up being weekend carnivores, where we would be vegan during the week and then eat delicious, delicious meat at Sunday dinners at their house.  Not really a recipe for conscious eating (haha, I made a food joke).

I'm glad we tried it and now I know the basics of cooking and baking for vegans (although, some vegans will not even eat "vegan" food at potlucks because they are very strict, and need to make sure all of the ingredients are ethically made).  I also have a problem with cheese, like, I cannot stop eating it.

Ideologically, I also have problems with the wool/leather conundrum.  If you do not want to wear leather and wool because it exploits animals for their pelts, that's fine, but I think it's okay to wear leather and wool purchased second-hand.  And, as Ms. Kwak-Hefferan pointed out (and I will point out that I have not made fun of her name ONCE), is getting eggs from your neighbor's yard-cooped chickens such an exploitation?  If you decide not to try veganism for a month like the author of the Grist piece, or five minutes like I did, at least think about where your meat is coming from.

Got the photo from Sandra, "Vegetable Monster."

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Repurpose Project

 The Repurpose Project hasn't been around for very long, but it's apparently a very popular place, and it's getting ready to move because the fire station needs to expand.  I need to find out how long they've been around and where they are going to move.

Soup vs. Sammiches

So, over the weekend I recorded the first AE podcast with my friend and bicycle mechanic, David G., and we talked about how he has been ranked #1 on GRU's energy reports at least three separate times, and how David saves a lot of scratch by running his water heater for only 40 minutes a day.  There is also a Banjo Break, graciously donated by Brenda W., plus the old man performs the theme song, The Eco Blues. At the end there's a plea to listeners to weigh in on the controversy of which is better, soup or sandwiches?  I say both are equally great, but I've already stepped aside on this issue.  

Next week I think we're going to talk about the Repurpose Project.  I don't have the podcast live for downloading because it's not a great effort, but it'll get better, and maybe I'll start making them available after I get a couple more under my belt.  The first podcast came out to about 7.5 minutes, but I'd like it to eventually be 15 minutes in total.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Enviro Rage

Folks, I've been really angry lately about the state of our country and the shape of its environment.  Mostly, I'm starting to agree with the preppers!  That's how angry I am.  But I don't believe in the dismal, fucked-up worldview most preppers have; I believe that in the most dire of circumstances people come together to help one another.

But that doesn't excuse or ignore the fact that a lot of people are going to freak-the-fuck-out when gas prices go up with this summer.  Don't know by how much, but you can be damn sure believe that people will be crying over how we have to pay x-amount more, even when the US pays the lowest gas prices in the world, second only to Canada.

I may joke about how irresponsible a steward I am of my environment, the small plot I call the homesphere, but there are a lot of people who do not give a shit about the environment, all they want is their cheap gas and cheap electricity.  Meanwhile, old people are freezing to death in Britain and Ireland has to ration water supplies. Oh yeah, we're dealing with our own environmental disasters, like an underground pipeline spill in Arkansas.