The Fear Continues

On Friday, the science project of an 11 year old resulted in the evacuation of a middle school. A 2 liter bottle with “wires sticking out”? It must be a bomb! Hackaday (a nerd blog) has a great editorial on the misgivings of people seeing home made electronics.

Sadly, these responses don’t seem limited to just electronics anymore. Any number of backyard projects insight an odd mix of fear and anger – line drying of clothes, making your own soap or laundry detergent, home construction projects / DIY jobs, backyard gardens, the list goes on.

At what point did we as a society decide that it must be purchased at the store to be acceptable?

Sad, so very sad.

Anachronism: Line Drying Clothes

In much of the US, people EXPECT to do their laundry using a washer and dryer. Driving through most suburban neighborhoods, you wouldn’t see people out hanging clothes on a line to dry. In fact, many neighborhood home owners associations BAN line drying of clothes as an eye sore.

Thankfully, there’s not a home owners association to bitch at us, and so we have taken it upon ourselves to annoy the neighbors by going back in time to the very recent past. The funny thing is, not many people realize just how much energy drying their clothes uses. An average family can spend a good $100 to $200 a year according to the EPA using a clothes dryer instead of line drying clothes. At an energy cost of near 1000 kWh / year, switching to line drying clothes could power an average home for a month.
Yesterday, I helped Fin put up the clothes line, and she’s switched to that from the dryer this summer. Line dried clothes have so far, been an epic win in this house, if only for the fact that my shirts actually seem to loose that dude-funk when they’re left in the breeze for a while. The amount of time to do the laundry isn’t much changed, and the clothes get dryer much quicker than you’d expect.
It’s also nice to be outside spending some time with Fin doing something together. The downsides? Well, I guess people get to see your socks and undewear hanging out there:
Also, clothes dried by the sun do have a tendency to fade faster. Still, if your homeowners association allows it, I recommend the practice. If they don’t, well, maybe you should question them as to exactly why they consider it an eyesore. The idea that trying to save energy, help the environment, and reduce costs is an eyesore, well, it’s just sorta sad. This blog is about changing that before the rest of the world leaves us in our own wasteful dust.

How fast do you eat?

Lunch to me is a big deal. My lunch is 1 hour. Not 30 minutes. Not 15 minutes. 1 hour. So, when I eat lunch with the guys, it’s moderately annoying to me that it usually seems more like 5 minutes than 60.

Why?

Well, lunch goes like this – obtain food, eat food, talk about work. Only problem is, the eat food step is completed in about five minutes. And that makes me think, just how much can you enjoy your food in five minutes of eating?

Now, I can understand if you’re bringing the same horrific salami on white bread with soggy pickle everyday. Generally though, I have a really good lunch, one that is worth more than swallowing hole – plastic sack and all.

Sadly, I never realized that I too had fallen to the sickness of the overly quick lunch until recently. For some time now, my lunch had been subject to the vacuum cleaner effect. It came to me mid-way through the usual collection of lunch fruit: wow, I’m not getting to taste any of this. And so, I mad a conscious effort to finish my lunch eating at a normal pace.

You probably wouldn’t believe me, but just slowing down how fast I ate lunch made the entire world around me move slower too. Seriously. Simply taking 1 bite more per piece of fruit managed to break the laws of space-time. Any physicist out there can try and repeat the experiment by eating their salami on white bread by using more than 2 bites.

As a bonus, your digestive track will thank you for it. Eating too fast can lead to a great many health issues (obesity, acid reflux). Occasionally it pays to take some time, and well, taste the food.

If you find yourself having trouble slowing down, check out this associated content article.

Welcome to the Jungle!

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been dealing with a growing annoyance. It started with something simple enough: apple sauce. It was a simple craving for a random food. So, at the grocery store, I attempted to find my mark. Unfortunately, this happened after I started reading labels.

Every apple sauce jar at the store had the same flaw: High Fructose Corn Syrup. Now, in general, I’m not an anti-HFCS Nazi. After all, several of my favorite foods contain HFCS. But what annoyed me most here is that I prefer my apple sauce, unsweetened. You wouldn’t expect unsweetened apple sauce, just apple’s with preservative, to be hard to find.

You’d be wrong.

I mentioned this at the office, and the general reply I got was, well unsweetened applesauce sucks. When it comes right down to it, adding corn syrup to applesauce is the cheapest way to sweeten it so the most number of people enjoy it.

When it comes down to it though, the annoyance for me was the lack of choice. A lack of choice created by the faster-better-cheaper mentality. We look at our modern world as something purely progressing, and don’t stop to think if choices we eliminate have value. It’s a curious thing to me, how few people stop to look at what’s been done, what can be done, and the possibilities of the world around them.

And in general, I’m convinced, this forstagnation is being subtly encouraged by things we view as beyond question – public education, religion, technological advances, capitalism. All hold intrinsic value, but so often ideas and systems tied to concepts we hold dear are not challenged out of fear for challenging the concept itself.

This blog will be about an ongoing attempt to adopt a lifestyle which values choice, personal freedom, honesty, and individuality. And, it’s not just me here writing about this point of view, my partner in crime, Fin, will be updating too.