Monthly Archives: February 2010

Less.

So I recently read “The Power of Less” by Leo Babuata (AND listened to the audiobook) and it got me thinking.  Those who know me know that I already live pretty minimally; I don’t feel the need for the latest greatest electronics unless it offers a big jump in features, I get most of my books from the library, I have no CDs or DVDs but rather have all music and movies on my computer, etc.  That part I had down, but I started noticing other places where “less” can make a big difference.

Take shampoo; I keep my hair short and so I noticed that it take a dollop of shampoo the size of a dime to do the job.  The same goes for shaving cream; did you ever notice how little shaving cream it takes to cover a face?  Even toothpaste; why fill the brush when half a brush is more than enough (with less spitting!).  The key here is not necessarily save money since these things don’t cost much, but it does save me time if I only have to buy these things half as often.

Give it a try; use less.  You might be surprised.

I do draw the line at toilet paper though; I will continue to yank that roll like I am trying to start a flooded lawnmower.  And I’ll always have a plunger by my side.

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Geek Alert: What a day of skiing looks like on a Garmin training GPS.

So last Thursday I went skiing by myself up at Flagstaff.  I left around 6am, got some demo skis in Flag that I wanted to try out and was on one of the first lift chairs at 9am.  With one and a half McDonald’s breakfast burritos in my jacket pocket, I was ready to go.  I turned on my Garmin, skied my ass off for four and half hours without stopping and was ready to leave the hill by 1:30pm.  This is the data I got after syncing my Garmin:

First, the elevation change; from this, you can see that I did 12 runs from the top (Agassiz Chair):

And now the rest of it.  Looks like I averaged 4 mph on the lift and 25 to 30 mph on the way down, with a top speed of 33.6 mph.  Cool or what?

I even hit almost all the runs, including the bumps!  Though I still suck at bumps.

The Neatnick’s Desk Setup…

So I recently bought a new computer for home; having had a laptop for work forever and always having had a desktop at home, I decided it was time for a laptop instead.  Since I have really liked my work machines over the years (all Thinkpad/Lenovo machines which I have to take everywhere and get beat up and still always work) I decided to just get the same as my most recent work machine, which is a T500.  I kept the monitor and keyboard and use a docking station for the home machine, and decided as long as this was all going on that I would clean up the cable situation as well.  Here is the desk setup; work laptop on left, desk phone (which connects to my cellphone using Bluetooth so I can use my desk handset anytime I am in the office) and home laptop the right.  Tidy, isn’t it?

And NOW for the cable situation; NO CABLES ON THE FLOOR!  I bought a $10 cord rack from Ikea which holds not only cables but powerstrips, adaptors and everything else:

And lastly, cables I need to access.  I found a little foam holder at the hardware store meant to hold drill bits that I stuck on the side of the desk.  There is the charger cable for my phone, the data cable for my phone (yeah, two different cables; stupid I know), a generic USB cable for my camera, etc and my iPod cable.  Sweet!

Ah.  Nice and neat.

Who says that the homeless don’t have a sense of humor???

So I wanted to buy my former neighbors a new video camera (they were using 8mm TAPES; ugh), and a friend had mentioned that at the Coinstar machines (which normally take about 8% of value of the change you convert) you can convert change for NO FEE as long as you get a credit for one of several shopping places like Starbucks, Amazon.com, etc.  Since the camera I wanted was at Amazon.com for around $250, I figured I would give this a shot, because, you know, I have a jar of change.

Okay, it is more a BUCKET of change since I actually am not able to lift it at this point.  Being the engineer that I am, I decided I could pour some into another vessel (in this case a mesh wastebasket) and carry that to the store.  So here we are:

I know, barely a dent in the original some how.

Anyway, I go to the CVS pharmacy by my house and start pouring in coins until I get $250 worth of credit, which I take as an Amazon.com voucher.  (I think we could kick the start the whole economy by just getting everyone to take their change to Coinstar and buying some stuff at Amazon; who doesn’t have a bunch of change sitting around?).

After the effort, I still had quite a bit of change left:

So I am leaving the store and as I step outside, there is a homeless guy, maybe around 40 or so, looking pretty clean and not too crazy.  He looks at me, looks at the basket I’m carrying, looks back at me smiling and says “So, you got any change?”.

He chuckled and said not to worry about it but he couldn’t resist, but I thought it was so well-played that I walked over and said “Okay, you get to keep whatever you can grab with one hand.”

After spending a second to size up where most of the big coins were at, he plunged and probably ended up with five to seven dollars.

Which in my book was well worth the laugh and the story.

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