Is there a word for simultaneous disdain and admiration?

I think I have that for steampunks.

coalputer

The processor’s not bad, but you have to wrap the antennae with tinfoil to get decent wifi.

Here is the coal powered laptop I’m running. It’s actually not much of an exaggeration. I have a ten year old macbook pro, and it runs hot enough that there might actually be a little boiler in there. I have to write my blog posts in word because the browser can’t handle it. No starting crank for the hard drive, at least. But yeah, this is why I can’t play minecraft.

Thanks to Jill for the request.

Also, I started another blog about music. I don’t know yet if it makes sense to anyone but me, but I’m excited about it, anyway. What is blogging if not blatant self-promotion?

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People give up on Ikea furniture so easily

It’s kind of understandable. The pine is cheap, and if it’s not put together right it splinters and breaks easy. That works out for me because it means Edmonton’s alleyways are always full of straight, planed, unvarnished wood. Here’s a table I made for my sister out of two other tables that were junked.

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It’s made to fit out on her balcony, but during winter it’s more of a side-table. Not too shabby for about two hours’ worth of destruction and re-assembly.

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Taking a Step Back

Hello internet! I’m writing you from Guadalajara, Mexico, where I am studying until June. I’d like to say thank you to the absolutely startling uptick in viewership of this blog, especially considering that now I am basically unable to post new content. Sure, I’ve got schemes to post some older projects, but nothing fresh and exciting just now. In the meantime, I just want to say hi to everyone. The stats-analytics tool tells me you’re from all over the place, which is phenomenal because it means I’ve gained a scope beyond friends and family that I spam on facebook. Where are you, personally, right now? What brought you to this blog? Did you try making rosemary-mint chocolate cake? Did it work? Did you pass your anatomy exam? Is there a non-sexual reason that everyone on the internet seems to be looking for wolf masks? I hope you’ll take this opportunity to leave a comment, and let me know what you’d like to see more of, or even specific requests, if you got ’em.

I started this blog while I was teaching English in Bolivia, and this isn’t exactly my first art-from-unfamiliar-circumstances rodeo, but it could take me a bit to straighten things out. I don’t have a scanner, or a sketchbook, my laptop is so old it runs on coal, and I don’t have any tools to make more rad stuff. My most recent project was cutting the bottom out of a water jug to make a lampshade for the bare bulb that lights my room, which probably doesn’t require instructions.

I’ll see what I can do to get some new and exciting stuff up. Thanks for reading!

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How Not To Improvise A Cake: a meditation on failure

My last baking post was supposed to be the first in a unified series. The plan was  to do a couple of different cakes with different ingredients, but using the same formula to demonstrate the system’s versatility. I got accepted to a university in Mexico, and on the way down I stopped in San Francisco for a week. The challenge, then, was to bake a cake with stuff that had been left in the hostel kitchen. I was feeling pretty confident about it.

the tea isn't an ingredient, but it was delicious.

the tea isn’t an ingredient, but it was delicious.

Continue reading

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EDC: Building a better tape wallet

This is a story about wallets and ambition, and this is my wallet:100_3120

You can probably tell that it’s seen some service. It’s made from a bike map of Edmonton and packing tape. When the carefully flattened, creaseless base layer became frayed, more packing tape was added, for 5 years. It’s thin, light, durable, almost waterproof and cost me only the time and materials. But this year I became unsatisfied. I tried to make myself a more stylish replacement. Continue reading

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How to Improvise a Cake

I really like baking (and also eating baked goods), and often my desire for cake outmatches the ingredients I have on hand. Consequently, I have developed a loose system for baking cakes out of whatever you got. And, after years of being lazy and broke, I’ve gotten pretty good at it. Today I made rosemary-mint-chocolate cupcakes, and so I thought I’d share my cake template.

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Listen, I know photos can’t communicate taste, but trust me, they turned out delicious.

Continue reading

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EDC: I get lost on the Indian Ocean Seafloor a lot.

But not anymore! I’m in the process of integrating this into my EDC, but I do forget it an awful lot. It’s a companion to the travel pen from earlier.100_3039 100_3036

It’s an old, damaged notepad faced with cardboard from a cereal box, a topographical map and hockey tape, if you’re curious.

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Top Secret

I had an uncle who worked for the Canadian Department of Defense back in the 1970s. I inherited two things from him: my name and this suitcase.

100_3062what’s in the box? find out below the cut!

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What’s happening inside your left wrist, Jesse?

I’m so glad you asked.

fractureApparently ice is slippery. On the upside, I didn’t get a bone fragment, I didn’t break my styloid, or my scaphoid, which are much more difficult to manage, and when it knits up, I should have a superbone.

Plus, now I get to learn guitar like Jeff Healey.

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Accesorize!

I’ve been dabbling in leatherworking, and some of the results shoddy, some are solid but totally unremarkable, and some are almost worth talking about. Here’s a thing from the final category. Last year, I sat down, watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and constructed this.Image

This was “sewn” with needles and a pair of pliers. I broke a lot of needles, and I have since bought a leatherworking awl. the leather is from a strap for a bag that fell apart. It’s not spectacular, but in the spirit of archiving things, I thought I’d post it.Image

It’s also not part of my EDC, because I’m not a maniac.

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