Unnecessary and Inefficient

Sometimes I just don’t understand why some people make the decisions they do. They jump out of perfectly good airplanes, put toxic substances into their bodies and run red lights. But today I encountered the result of a past decision even more heinous than any of those.

When we moved into our current house a few months ago we discovered the previous owners had removed the dining room light. My wife has been gently prodding me to put it back up ever since. She usually does this through subtle hints like “could you do it for my Christmas present?” Or “how about for New Years?” Or “maybe Valentine’s Day?”   Thinking back I probably could have saved a lot of money on presents and flowers by just being a little proactive.

One of the reasons I put it off so long was because of the previous owner’s method of removing it in the first place. They didn’t disconnect it at the ceiling and take it down in one piece. Instead they unscrewed the bottom of the fixture, cut the wires that went to all five lights and pulled the wire out through the body and stem. Then, without even disconnecting it from the supply wires they shoved five feet of lamp wire into the junction box in the ceiling and covered it up.

I ended up having to rewire the entire thing. This wasn’t complicated but it felt so unnecessary and inefficient, like jumping out of a plane. I’m not sure why I decided to randomly tackle the project tonight. But at least now I can see what I’m typing. And my wife’s happy.

Invention 34001: Quick Release Glasses

I don’t mind being a glasses wearer but sometimes it’s a pain. For example, when I want to lie down on the couch and watch television. But when I do, the temple arm presses into the side of my head. It hurts.

To combat this I decided the thing to do is remove the temple from one side of the glasses. However, it would be inconvenient to take out the tiny screw holding it on every time I wanted to lie down. Then I would have to put it back in when I was finished so I wouldn’t look like an idiot. And so my glasses wouldn’t fall off.

My solution was to start designing a quick release mechanism for removing the temples. A small lever could be rotated so the arm could be pulled off. Then, it would easily be reattached by rotating the lever the other direction. Below are some quick sketches of my idea.

Don’t Finish That Book

One of my favorite things to tell people is that I’ve started and stopped reading more books than I’ve ever finished. I’m not even sure that makes sense but it reminds me of an important decision I made several years ago regarding reading and learning. The short version of the lesson is that I don’t have to force myself to finish a book (or anything I’ve started) if it turns out to be a waste of time.

Maybe that seems obvious to you but for most of my life I’ve felt that if I don’t finish what I start, no matter how painful or pointless, then I’ve failed. All the while the truth has been that if I push through something pointless, that is the failure.

The Symbol of Easter

A lot of people consider the cross to be the ultimate symbol of Easter. That, or a tie-died hard-boiled egg which I still don’t entirely understand. But by itself, the cross is just a symbol of death and the despair of hope lost. The symbol that really represents what Easter means is the grave stone that was rolled away to reveal an empty tomb.

Death couldn’t contain Jesus. In fact, death couldn’t do anything at all. Jesus submitted to death willfully as a sacrifice for the sins of man. But it was only for a time. And by rejecting death and rising after three days, Jesus showed his deity and allowed all of us to share in an eternal life apart from death.

That’s why we can truly say Happy Easter!

Time Keeps on Slipping

I still can’t seem to get used to daylight savings time. Everything just feels late. Every time I look at the clock it seems like it should an hour earlier than it is, which of course, it should. The upshot of this is that I always feel behind with my work and everything else.

I started working on a few drawings today and then all of a sudden it was dinner time and the day’s almost over. To compound things, I woke up late this morning. No one else seems to think 7:00 am is late but what do they know?

I guess I shouldn’t be complaining about what little time I have. Instead, I really should just be making sure I fill my limited time with the right things. Now the trick is figuring out what the right things are.

Abandoned

Where is my wife?
She only went to get a haircut.
Then she’d come back to get me
From the library where she dropped me off
With my kids for something to do.

But it’s been well over an hour.
How much hair does it take
To complete a cutting?
The mystery is deep and
So must be my patience.

Have I been abandoned?
Doomed to browse these shelves?
My only friend the DDS?
But still responsible for my children?
Oh wait, there she is.

A Pen in the Hand is Worth Two You Can’t Find

Pens and pencils are constantly going missing in my house. The cry of “where did my pen/pencil go?” followed by a drawer opening and a new one being taken out of the package is common.

Sometimes the old ones show up again but more often than not they’re just gone. We’ve all come to accept this phenomenon. And rather than try to be responsible and keep track of our writing implements, our solution is simply to buy more pens and pencils – a lot more.

A few weeks ago my wife found a spectacular deal on Amazon for Uni Ball 207 pens. We bought enough multi packs to last a lifetime. I like to do a lot of my writing lying down so I also sprung for a pack of Uni Power Tank pens which are pressurized. So now we have an assortment of Bold 207, 207 and Micro 207 pens.

While we bought them for writing, I’ve found that the three sizes work really well for pen sketching. The different thicknesses lend themselves well to weighting a sketch appropriately or producing different shading effects.

While they’re not the most high-end pens and they aren’t perfect for drawing or writing, they’re great for casual sketches and notes. Besides, the cheap pen you have is better than the nice one you can’t find.

How to Make WAV Sound Clips for your Computer

 

Making sound clips to replace your computer’s system sounds is really easy. All you need is an audio file that you want to extract the clip from and the free Audacity software.

Step 1. Download and install Audacity.

Step 2.  Launch Audacity. Click File -> Open and browse to your audio file.

Step 3.  Select the portion of the track that you want to make into a clip.

Step 4. Click File -> Export -> Export Selected Audio…

Step 5. Save your audio to your preferred location.

That’s all there is to it! Now you can make .wav files to use for adding custom Windows system sounds or anything else.

How To Add Custom Windows System Sounds

It’s really easy to roll your own custom sound scheme in Windows. First, in the Control Panel, open up the sound window. From there click on the sounds tab. Under program events click on each even and click the Browse button under Sounds. Browse to where the .wav file you want to use for that event is located and select it.

Once you’ve customized all of the events you want, make sure to click the Save As button under Sound Scheme and give your scheme a unique name. 

I’ve put together a few .wav files of sound clips that can work for some computer events. You can download them from GitHub. I use about 15 of them on my computer and always get a smile when I hear that files in my recycle bin have been exterminated.

Here are a few of my other favorites that I use: