Dear Tech Evangelicals

Short version: Get a life and stop yelling at me about my technological devices, and I will stop thinking you are a crazy, angry asshole.

I know you love your cellphone/computer/tablet/widget. I get it. It's a wonderful thing when you have a piece of technology in your life that you love owning and using, which brings you more pleasure than grief, and which does the things you need it to do when you need it to do them. Everyone should be so lucky. Few things suck worse than owning a cellphone/computer/tablet/widget that makes you want to pull your hair out with frustration. I too know the joy of owning a cellphone/computer/tablet/widget that makes my life better and not more aggravating. Everyone should own technology that makes their lives better by whatever definition of better they set for themselves.

My cellphone/computer/tablet/widgets happen to be made by a company called Apple. Many of you own cellphone/computer/tablet/widgets made by other companies. In most cases, the only reason I know what variety of cellphone/computer/tablet/widget you own is because you tell me how much better your cellphone/computer/tablet/widget is than my cellphone/computer/tablet/widget at every available opportunity. Often, you will –at length– list off tech specs for your cellphone/computer/tablet/widget AND MINE and insist that my life would be better, if only I would see the light and switch to your preferred cellphone/computer/tablet/widget.

This wouldn't be so frustrating (and sometimes aggravating), if I were asking for advice on what cellphone/computer/tablet/widget to buy … and if said unasked for advice didn't quickly devolve into foam-speckled ranting about the evils and downfalls of my preferred cellphone/computer/tablet/widget and the company that makes it. It can't be healthy carrying around all those suitcases full of hate. See a therapist, unpack that baggage, show them on the doll where the bad corporation touched you, and work through that negativity. In fact, expending so much emotional energy attempting to convert others to your preferred cellphone/computer/tablet/widget makes you seem just a little unhinged.

If someone asks me about my cellphone/computer/tablet/widget and how I feel about it, I will gladly tell them the positives and negatives. Occasionally, the love I feel for my cellphone/computer/tablet/widget will bubble forth without prompting in the form of “I love my cellphone/computer/tablet/widget!”, especially if it just saved my butt in some way. What I don't ever feel the need to do is tell other people that their preferred cellphone/computer/tablet/widget sucks and the company that makes it should cease to exist. Furthermore, I don't know the technical specifications of my own cellphone/computer/tablet/widgets, so it's a sure bet I don't know what's going on inside yours. I have better things to store in my brain.

You should spend more time asking yourself why you give a damn what flavor of cellphone/computer/tablet/widget anyone else is using and less time telling other people what cellphone/computer/tablet/widget they should be using and why (unless they ask for advice). All that foam-speckled ranting makes you sound like a street corner preacher declaring the end is nigh and how we're going to hell if we don't follow you to the promised land while owning cellphone/computer/tablet/widget Type G (and not Type A or B or C). Isn't there something more useful to the universe and humanity at large you could be doing than telling people the cellphone/computer/tablet/widgets they love suck?

One more thing…

I'm neither stupid nor a kool aid drinker. Your behavior makes it feel like you think I am too stupid and/or deluded to select my own cellphone/computer/tablet/widget. You should take a moment to reflect on that as well.

New Who

So you may have noticed I haven’t had anything to say about the new Doctor Who season that just started. Well, let’s fix that now. You have to know I have opinions.

The episode itself was kind of crap. Could have had half as much in it and been half as long and it would have been awesome. The fight scene was ridiculously stupid. No tension, and actually nothing much resembling fighting. I’m going to pretend I didn’t see it. The nonstop “Married!” bit seemed pointless after the first three times it was said. We get it already! Vastra going off on Clara was weird and a bit off putting (girl’s been through all this hell over the course of Xmas lunch for Pete’s sake). Some of the effects were really poorly done. Way, WAY too much made of how very OLD the new regeneration of the Doctor is. Um, he’s not that damn old, thank you very much. He’s in my peer group, and we aren’t at death’s door.

I do not, at all, like the new intro theme music. It makes my head hurt.

With that said, there was some good acting. Some moments were spot on awesome, like the newspaper through the window, the hobo in the alley scene, the cafe conversation, the ambiguity of how the cyborg exited the balloon (and the breaking of the fourth wall during that scene), and the bit at the end (which gave me feels). Like I said, the episode could have been shorter and been better. When I find myself mentally wandering off during a new episode of Doctor Who, there’s a problem.

Now on the subject of the new regeneration of the Doctor? Love him. He’s going to be awesome. Capaldi is a fine actor, and he’s going to bring something really fresh and new to Doctor Who. It feels like he’s going to be a lot like a combination of the Pertwee and Baker incarnations, which would bring me endess joy. Something a little more serious (but still crazy). Something a little darker. I can’t wait to see it. I just hope The showrunners don’t screw it up. Do you hear me Moffat?

 

Is It Over Yet?

On the off chance you've been wondering how Project Bedroom: The Great Decluttering has been going, let me fill you in on recent events.

I took two days off for mental health reasons and fatigue. The last couple weeks I kept waking up and saying I was taking a day off from dealing with household debris (and life in general), and then I wouldn't take the day off. Downtime is important, folks. Getting some rest helped. I woke up today and felt ready to get back to work, but everything was just so frustrating. I was attempting to create perfection when good would do. Seriously, I have been working on the bedroom for weeks, I have gotten rid of so much stuff, and that closet is no longer a complete nightmare. I've done good! Good is good enough for now.

At the moment, all my clothing is put away in the closet or chest of drawers. I still own too much clothing, and I will be thinning it out some more soon. My shoes and purses are in the shoe shelves in the closet and not all over the floor. My fabric stash is in storage bins on the top shelf of the closet, and I have decided that much of it can be donated away. The yarn is in the process of being wound into tidy balls, but for now it's on the floor of the closet in trash bags. I can live with that for a while. It'll get better over time, and much of it will be going away too. So really, aside from getting rid of some more of the stuff in the closet and getting more storage bins for what I'm keeping, the closet is done. So are the chest of drawers. Yay!

Unfortunately, there are still random piles of crap all over the house. Some of the crap just needs a new home, like the board games and knitting patterns I'm not getting rid of. Some of it just needs to be thrown in the trash bin. I've decided the solution to the problem of random piles of crap that need homes is the den. More specifically, the bookshelves in the den. They contain a lot of books I don't especially need to own anymore. Books I will never read again. Books that are so outdated as to be useless. Books people gave me that I never wanted. Many of these books could go away, and I wouldn't miss them. And if they go away, I will have homes for knitting patterns, and board games, and the books and magazines that are currently stacked in the living room and under my desk. You know, the things I like and use regularly.

I hadn't planned to declutter the den right this moment, but as always, one thing leads to another. In order to reclaim the rest of the house, I must do something in the den. Luckily, the only thing in there (on my side anyway) is books. I'm going to be pretty brutal. If it's not ancient, or arts/crafts/cooking related, or one of my all-time most meaningful and important books, or in some other way is irreplaceable and/or outstanding and/or utterly useful, it's going. Some things will be replaced with ebook versions. I have a Kindle and an iPad upon which I now do 90% of my reading, and I like ebooks very, very much. What do I like best about them? They don't take up an entire room. My house is too small to hold so many books that aren't being looked at.

So tomorrow, the sorting of books will begin, and hopefully, I will get that all done tomorrow. And then all my knitting patterns and various and sundry other arts and crafts books/magazines and all the board games can have a home … and my house will almost be back to normal. Actually, better than normal. I have seriously tossed so much stuff since last fall, and organized so much stuff. My home is far from being anything like the ones you see in home decor magazines, but it's looking a lot less like a madhouse these days. Eventually, the Box Room will be converted into my studio, and then all the creative madness will be contained in one room, behind a closed door. Bliss!

First, I have to finish the current decluttering mess I've made, and then I want to make the bedroom into a wonderful, restful, and lovely place. I've been dreaming about having a wonderful, restful, and lovely bedroom. I am ready to have it! Ready! Right now! Right after I decide which bedroom furniture and paint colors are THE ONES. I'm hoping to decide that this weekend. Sunday is going to be a long, long day. I want to do Ikea and Home Depot all in the same day. Hope the husband is up to it! Hope I'm up to it too!

Don’t Skip Steps

I slept through my alarms this morning, and when my brain noticed the sunlight in the room, I popped up and remembered I needed to put out the grocery box. Unfortunately, I'm only good for two things before having coffee: stumbling to the bathroom and stumbling to the kitchen to make coffee. There's not really any obstacles between the bed and the bathroom or kitchen, so those are relatively safe journeys to make when one's brain is not at all engaged yet. Stumbling to the living room and then the front door to manhandle a large green box onto the porch, on the other hand, is filled with obstacles, in the form of cat toys, furniture, and quite often cats.

Had I stopped in the bathroom first, a visit that always ends with the splashing of cold water on my face which facilitates brain engagement for coffee making, I might have made it to the front door unharmed, but no … I bounced down the hall, built up a head of steam, and entered the living room. Not only was my brain not engaged, I don't even think my eyes were open yet. I have no actual recollection of my journey from bed to living room doorway.

Want to know what will wake a brain up immediately? A toe that's been broken twice before slamming into the solid wooden leg of a couch at full stumble force. I uttered a quiet “ow” and took two more steps before the pain travelled up my mostly asleep nervous system to inform my brain that a quiet “ow” was a serious understatement. I crumpled into a ball on the floor, grasped my right foot, and unleashed my entire multilingual vocabulary of curse words.

After determining I hadn't yet again broken that toe, I hobbled to the front door and put the damn grocery box out on the porch. Then I hobbled back to bed and declared today another day off. Any day that starts with brutally smashing one's toe probably isn't going to get better. Why risk it?! Besides, I stayed up far too late last night drinking cocktails and watching stupid movies, so a few more hours of sleep were necessary anyway.

Now I'm having my late afternoon morning coffee and getting ready to wind a few balls of yarn while trying to ignore the throbbing sensation in my foot. My toe isn't broken, but it is NOT HAPPY. Going forward, I will never again skip the necessary brain engaging steps of a bathroom pitstop and coffee making, unless the house is on fire. Maybe not even then.

Still Decluttering

I am still working on decluttering and organizing the bedroom. My home is still in a general state of disarray. It's madness. I am so tired of this particular household project. A day does not go by when I wish I'd never started on it. But I did start on it, and now I have to just keep plugging away at it until it's done.

On the upside, I am on the downhill slope and believe I might actually be ready to paint the room and buy new furniture soon. Yesterday, we dropped off a huge load of stuff at Goodwill, which helped me see that there isn't all that much left to do. Mostly, I'm down to organizing my arts and crafts supplies. That's a pretty big task though. I have A LOT of arts and crafts supplies, and for now, they all have to fit into that one closet. I'm hoping to get the fabric all folded and on the designated “fabric” shelf, and then…

::snip::

I started listing off the things I still need to do, and it started feeling long and overwhelming and like I'll never get done with it all, so let's just pretend I only have to get the fabric folded and shelved, okay? If I think about more than that, I'll just crumple to the floor in a heap and give up.

Other than slaving away in the bedroom, I've been doing … nothing. I mean nothing else. I have seriously been spending day after day digging through all the crap I have collected and hauled around over the course of my adult life. Occasionally, I stop to eat, sleep, do household chores, and watch a movie. Like I said, it's madness. The payoff –in the form of a stylish and comfortable bedroom– better be worth it.

Guess I'll have a second cup of coffee and then get back to work in that damned bedroom. I swear the only thing keeping me going at this point is the hope of having a new and comfy mattress to sleep on soonish. It could just be on the floor of an empty room at this point, and I wouldn't even care. Who needs furniture?!

Nice Balls

The whole decluttering and simplifying my life thing is still ongoing. I've been working on the bedroom closet for about two weeks now. Two weeks. It's getting there, but the whole house is in a general state of disarray. I think once we get the stuff going to charity out of the house, it won't look like a madwoman or hoarder lives here. That's all I can really say about it. I'm so tired of working on it, but it's got to be done.

The bedroom closet is where I store a lot of my arts and crafts supplies. Mostly the yarn and fabric. It's never been, how shall I say it, neatly and usefully organized. Due to that fact, I usually don't know what I have, which leads to buying more, and on the whole … not a lot of any of it getting used for projects. Basically, that collection of goods has just been sitting in there taking up space. So I am sort of excited about having it all organized so I can walk in there and pull out something when I have an idea. Won't that be nice?

The fabric is pretty easy to organize. It's folded and flat and easily stacked. The yarn? Not so much. Different sized balls, and skeins, and hanks. Whether it's in bags or boxes or on shelves, it always just looks like a jumbled mess. Especially since the skeins one finds in stores are so loose and come from the factory with a high propensity to tangle and fall apart into one giant knot of uselessness. They suck.

So what to do about it other than deal with the status quo? Buy a yarn ball winder. They make tidy center pull balls of yarn that are flat on the top and bottom. They are called cakes. Cakes of yarn. They take up less space, are easy to work with, and they can be stacked one on top of the other in boxes or on shelves. They can even be attached to a sheet of pegboard with simple L-shaped hooks (something I hope to do at some point in the future). In short, a ball winder seemed to be needed to solve my yarn crisis.

I agonized about buying a ball winder the last couple of weeks, as I always do when facing the prospect of buying a single purpose tool that itself will take up precious space in my small home. Sure, there are cheap ball winders, but they are made of plastic and the long term reviews aren't good. If I have to buy a new cheap ball winder every few months, it's not so cheap. There are also ball wonders far out of my budget. Like WAY out of my budget both in dollars and storage space. There were surprisingly few in the mid-range, so I focused on those and picked one that got good reviews, looked sturdy, and wasn't too terribly expensive. Two days ago, I ordered it.

It arrived today! Took a few minutes to put it together and figure out how it worked, but then I loaded it up and started cranking away!

It took five minutes to turn a loose and somewhat tangled old skein of acrylic yarn into a nice fat tidy cake ready for using!

Then I went a little crazy, because it was so fast and easy. A hour later my stacks of tidy yarn cakes had grown!

I think I'm going to have too much yarn to store it in the shoe shelves I put in the closet (used to be in the living room holding knitting stuff), so I'm going to use those for storing my fabric. The yarn is going to be in the plastic storage bins labeled by color family. Eventually though, I want to do the pegboard storage system, because it's so artsy and fabulous looking! I just don't have a wall to spare right now. Eventually, I will!

Now I'm super inspired to hurry up and finish going through all the non-craft supply junk in the closet (you know, like clothing and board games) so I can get moving on the organizing. As horrible and tiring as Project Declutter: The Bedroom Edition has been, once it's done it's going to be AWESOME!

And yarn ball winder is just wonderful. I wish I'd bought one years ago, and I am so glad I finally did. And if you too are thinking a yarn ball winder might change your yarn crafting life, this is the one I bought. I've only had it one day, so I don't yet know how well it will perform over time, but it feels very sturdy, other people like it, and I'm fairly confident I'll get what I paid for it out of the thing long before it dies on me.