Friday, June 30, 2017

Tech Scrimp

Not long ago, it was my privilege to sit in on a discussion of the economics of automatic light switches that turn on and off when a room is or is not in use. A lecture hall filled with expensively educated attendees agreed that the twenty years it would take to recoup the investment was more trouble than nagging users to be responsible. It would be interesting to calculate the value of the time that involved itself in the comment.

Interestingly, the issue touches on a couple of central issues of design. Buckminster Fuller asserted that people in general are drunk and not worth the trouble of educating. He advocated building an environment that demands no responsible behavior. The Arts and Crafts community was oriented toward low-tech and fostering the personal qualities that enabled fine motor skills. Low-tech is my hands' down favorite for elegance, initial cost, portability, and, usually, economy of space. 


Last week's light bill arrived with a notice encouraging customers to consider buying "advanced power strips" that automatically cut off the draw from devices that are constantly on. I consulted the new techie-in-residence, who commented that the strips are more relevant to entertainment hardware than the relatively simple inventory we live with. It's always a pleasure to ignore the latest advice -30-
More after the jump.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Sofa And Snack

The sofa came first, an ornamental piece with carved arms, legs, and back. It was known as a canape. The hors d'oeuvres was named after the seating for its way of presenting the burden to best advantage.

This connection came to mind as I was tidying the parlor. I realized that folded into thirds, a down comforter laid on the seat of the sofa exactly resembles the down cushion of an eighteenth-century French canape'. A duvet cover of large-scale gingham squares completes the look -30- More after the jump.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Blade Etiquette

Somehow I missed Knife Safety Memo #1: offer a knife to another person by holding the blade itself with the sharp edge facing away from one's palm. Accept the knife by saying "Thank you", to indicate a safe reception.

My source of all things professional kitchen tells me that it is bad form ever to touch another person's knives.

I did learn always to ask a penny of someone one had given a blade as a gift, so as "not to cut the friendship" -30- More after the jump.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Rice Cooker Redux

Rice, oatmeal, and now lentils comprise my slowly growing list of foods that are easily prepared in the tinny high-tech version of a traditional Japanese lipped cooking vessel.

Moseying around the 1946 Joy of Cooking, I scouted down-home dishes and realized how much faster and easier it is to cook legumes in 2017. The tiny French lentil offered by the local upscale food co-op is done to soulful perfection in one cycle of the rice appliance, and I don't have to tend it. If you want an integral lentil, cut the cycle a little short-30- More after the jump.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Graphic Amenity

I have tried and discarded countless variants of correction fluid for the stone-age graphics I prefer. The need for one can't be predicted, and this morning brought yet another semi-urgent search for some kind, any kind, of white-out.

Not surprisingly, the Really Old School Commercial Art recommendation, permanent white gouache, did the trick. I found a years' old tube in my kit, and it was good to go, though I needed pliers to open it. The contents gave off a heartening incense-like aroma.


What I really want is a notebook page that supports dry erase marker. The Academic Book Store is offering spray cans that promise dry erase, magnetic, and chalk surfaces, and I look forward to testing them on paper.  In the meantime, clear nail polish does the trick -30-
More after the jump.