Yes, I have seen the YouTube videos, have read the excerpts from her book, watched the Netflix show. Marie Kondo is still everywhere.
And it seems like she is sorely needed here in the center of Conspicuous Consumer Consumption: the good ol’ USA.
Except that I’m not buying it; I’m not drinking the KonMari 1 Kool-Aid. Marie Kondo, you’re a fraud.
Is it desirable to have a clean, efficient home? YES
Is it comforting to know that you’re not a hoarder? YES
Is it socially just to own just what we need daily? YES
But the KonMari Method is a Decapitate-to-solve-Headache solution. It is designed to appease those folks that need to see rapid-progress, instantaneous solutions, Must Have my Cake Now or I won’t eat my vegetables.
I can accept the first step: Pray to your House Spirit (in essence) Those of us with religious backgrounds can attest to the many rituals that fill our lives and in many cases provide comfort and fulfillment. So I’m OK with praying to the inner quiet and joy that a happy home brings. When our home is destroyed by a flood, a quake, a fire, we feel a loss. Whether you pray to the walls or to a Higher Being that gave you the home is OK.
Then we start dumping our closets in one big pile. To make us realize that we own too much. But you could also do the same by going to those photos taken some time ago, showing under-developed, developed, 1st world families next to all their belongings. Very enlightening as shown in Material World photos. And same result. I get it: I buy too much junk.
But can a person love 100 pieces of junk, er, treasured objects? I believe the answer is YES. We have no problem believing that a mother/father can love 6 children as easily and as much as they would love 1 or 2. Same for our valuable possessions. But Marie Kondo is right about one thing: if we don’t organize, we tend to lose our precious objects and miss out on enjoyment. I recall finding a long-lost watch and having a moment of joy when finding it again. So I suggest the Harem Solution: organize your treasures and schedule time with each of them. You will still enjoy each and every one. And avoid sharing your Treasure with others; you may catch a communicable disease2
And you don’t have to do a Master Cleanse of a room to motivate you into cleanliness. I can visualize my end goal; I can see myself living comfortably in the new space; I can make a plan to get me there. If I had an extra room, I would follow Marie’s advice and dump everything there, then start bringing items back one at a time. I do not agree with her solution to throw the remainders out. We can organize our Treasure Trove so that our items are accessible and dust-free. I suggest foot lockers done in tasteful Earth tones and indexed for easy retrieval. Walls should be sparsely decorated with rotating artwork.
Clothes should undergo the FIT test. If they fit, and you like them, keep them. If not, donate immediately. Store clothes by season, so that all of them are accessible at the correct time of year. You can use stretch film wrap –easy to use, inexpensive– to store the seasonal bundles of clothes. Sure I own 40 t-shirts, but I use them consistently in a rotating basis. I do wish I could donate them somewhere when they wear out3 All the same, if there are clothes that you love and would like to share with a friend, loved one then we should pass it on. Most of the time, though, the only people that want the clothes are the recyclers.
And finally, one item that Marie Kondo does NOT address: the lifelong regret when you wish you had something that you discarded / donated / threw away. Yes, we can re-purchase some of the items but that does not support responsible consumerism. Some items are gone forever, once out of our hands. Can you live with only the memory of a treasured heirloom? If the answer is YES then go ahead and KonMari your life away. I will still look for a sane, middle-of-the-road solution.
Category Archives: Everything Else
Pssst Kid……. They’re lying to you.
I don’t like writing political pieces. Always divisive, even when prompted by the best of motives. And we just had a very divisive Presidential campaign. All of us are trying to put it behind us. At least those of us not in the streets, rioting/protesting.
But today I heard a piece on NPR1 , about a school teacher having meeting with parents of 5-year olds. Every meeting started with weeping from all parties, before they actually talk about the kids. And then, the 5-year old says that he has to go to Mexico because he’s Mexican (his parents are Mexican; he was born in the US) and that he has to say goodbye to all his friends.
That’s it. Stop the crazyness. Stop the paranoia. Someone tell that kid that his parents along with all of us have been listening to too much media coverage from CNN. We have all been under a barrage of media coverage that demonized one candidate while giving fawning publicity to the other. That’s my opinion, and that is why I don’t like to write these pieces.
Candidates have been known to make outlandish statements while on the stump. Other candidates are more measured and in control. The media may just be attracted to the outlandish comment because it makes for a more interesting piece. But the type of coverage in the 2016 campaign needs to be studied as a breakdown of media abuse. Was there really better coverage for one candidate vs. the other? Were all of us fed just one outcome of the election so that what actually happened was a big shock to everyone? Were the polls really based on bad research or were they manipulated?
No matter what history decides, that 5-year old needs to be re-assured immediately. And thatcannot be done without revealing that the media lied to you, kid. Don’t trust anything you hear or see, especially on TV. Always use your common sense and take everything with a pinch of salt. You’ll be the better for it.
- I stopped supporting NPR back in the early nineties when I found that their coverage was not as unbiased and even-handed as they advertise. When my opinions became more centrist, I could not find them reflected in their coverage. So I left. [↩]
LA CAÑADA DONS MUSIC CAMP 1961
The forerunner of the Bellis Music Camp.
Mr. Lawrence B. Bellis, music director at La Cañada Junior High School, organized an annual summer band and orchestra camp beginning in 1957. It took place shortly before the school year started. Incoming, continuing, and outgoing students were invited. Group leaders, identified by their white sailor’s caps, were alumni. The very youngest student attendees, going into the 7th grade, were not quite 12 years old, and graduates heading for 10th grade at John Muir High School were typically 15.
This 1961 event took place after the La Cañada schools separated from the Pasadena school system, and right before the start of the first year under the new organization. None of the teachers at the junior high continued with the new system.
Mr. Bellis moved to Pasadena’s Elliot Junior High, and Douglas Coe was hired to replace him at La Cañada. Both outgoing and incoming music directors worked together at this camp, easing the transition for us band and orchestra members. In addition, Olaf Frodsham of Caltech was choral director at the camp.
Lawrence B. Bellis (1907-1974)
There used to be an online bio of Mr. Bellis, but I could not find it. I do remember that he directed a band in Honolulu during the war in the 1940s, and there was a photo with the band members wearing Hawaiian shirts.
Everyone in this big photo loved Mr. Bellis, with his demanding direction of band and orchestra, but also with his sense of humor when dealing with us individually.
Click this thumbnail to enlarge.
The large photo has been divided into 14 top-to-bottom slices, numbered 1 to 14, left to right. Each slice lists its camper names and you access a slice by clicking on its thumbnail in the above group. The top row has numbers 1 to 7 and the bottom row has 8 to 14.
A few attendees have entries in wikipedia, imdb, or other locations on the web, for which links are provided. These can be seen by clicking on thumbnails 1, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, and 14.
My copy of the big photo is creased, as is the greatly-faded roster attached to its back, but I did manage to decipher 115 of the 119 names. The school annual, Don Dias ’62, was instrumental in confirming some of them. Otherwise, the big photo actually did survive a half-century in the closet!
The 115 identified names are listed alphabetically by last name, with photo number. If you can supply any of the names, please let us know! Continue reading LA CAÑADA DONS MUSIC CAMP 1961
The Force Awakens: These are NOT the spoilers you were looking for…
Rest easy, I will NOT be posting any spoilers in this article. For one thing, I’m many days from being able to get a ticket to the movie. And I would not spoil the experience for you, even if I had real information about the movie.
Even the title of this post is probably something I read in one of the many articles from months past that have tried to sate our need for Star Wars information until the movie opens tonight. Lots of speculation out there, so let me have a try….
If you don’t want to even read my random musings, do not read below the image below. And enjoy the movie; I know that I will !!
End of Humanity: A.I. Terminators or The Big Bang? Or both?
A confluence of events in this year of our Lord 2015 leads me to believe that the end of Humanity is at hand.
Let me give you the raw data:
“AI is the single greatest threat to human existence.” — Steven Hawking
The Supreme Court will decide the fate of gay marriage in America this year. — CNN
Ex Machina opens in theatres, May 2015. Sentient, Sexy robots among us.
(Skynet)Defense network computers. New… powerful… hooked into everything, trusted to run it all. They say it got smart, a new order of intelligence. Then it saw all people as a threat, not just the ones on the other side. Decided our fate in a microsecond: extermination . –Kyle Reese, in “Terminator”
The Supreme Court will rule on the gay marriage question this year. By the time you read this article, it may already have decided in the favor of this new “marriage model.” This by itself does not
doom the human reproductive future: there are still so many, many children being born from hetero couplings.
The homosexual community is a small percentage of the population1 and they are in fact another reliable resource in rearing unwanted children. Gay marriage should in theory advance human presence on the Earth.
But this legal decision will forever undo the correlation between reproductive behavior and marriage. Marriage is now a joining of families and resources, and not expressely a contract for child rearing.2 This will open up marriage to a large number of actors (not the Hollywood kind). Once agreement is in place NOT to produce children, marriage between genetically-common family members would be permitted3 More importantly, marriage between a person and a corporation or other social structure should be possible.
This is where Skynet and the A.I. entities come into play. What if you could marry a corporation or trust that ensured your continued care until end of life? They could manage your resources to best use and keep you living as long as possible. What if this corporation was controlled by a very efficient AI? It would make decisions to keep you healthy and lucid until the end of life. In the meanwhile,
if you are needing companionship, they could send a sentient, robotic companion to your home to care and interact with you. I need say no more, just look at the following view of the future:
With humanity now under proper health care and sexually satisfied, procreation using the heterosexual model becomes quaint but inefficient. You don’t need kids to care for you when the AI State can do a better job. And there is the SuperModel of the Month that comes to your home and makes sure your coffee is properly ground and your teabags properly dipped.
It sounds like a perfect way to terminate Human presence on Earth, once the AI decides it wants to stop human reproduction. The human family model becomes irrelevant and may even be considered vulgar and gross. Those of us who believe in A Man and A Woman creating A Child may be persecuted and hunted.
But I doubt it will come to that. Humanity will give up in complacency. It will all end not with a whisper but with a (literal) Bang. The Terminators came (again, literally) and ended Human existence.
- the fact that we are aware of the plight of a statistically small community means that someone, somewhere has done a remendously terrific job in publicizing their viewpoint, or “agenda” as some conservatives refer to it. This is a great achievement and puts the Goebbel’s effort in WW2 to shame [↩]
- This was already apparent in marriages that were never intended to produce children, either due to age or to consensus between spouses [↩]
- Please don’t mention people marrying their dogs. It sounds ridiculous but maybe *I* am being short-sighted [↩]
Thermal Snap in the City of Angels
I am sharing my story to shed light on a little-known phenomenum that we have dubbed “Thermal Snap” Why? Because it sounds a lot cooler than “Thermal Expansion of Toughened Glass.” And it could result in damage that may not meet your auto insurance deductible, and you’ll have to pay for it yourself.
The following interchange tries to make sense of what happened :
Last week, I left my car parked at the Metro station in the full sun. Upon my return 10 hours later, I found the back window completely shattered. Did I get hit by a meteor or a large bird? I looked around but I could not find a point of impact or a large object that could have caused the damage *to the window only* The rest of the car was undamaged.
The cops that came to fill out a report said that it was “blown out” from the pressure building inside the passenger compartment, and that they see this type of thing all the time. I had never heard of it.
When I closed the front door of the car, the vibration brought the window down in a shower of small glass fragments; it had been staying in place held together by friction between the pieces.
Bottom line: if you’re parked in the sun, leave one of your windows ever so slighty cracked down so that there is an air space to allow pressure to equialize with the outside.
The good news (if any) is that the window replacement people come to your house and the replacement cost is not much higher than what I paid back in the 90’s for a similar service.
Thank you, this is exactly the kind of information CT agents need in the field. I will pass this along to others, along with the proper way to tie your shoes, which has yet to fail me.
I do have a few questions:
Was your sun shade up?
Was there any external shade at any point in the day (tree, building, etc)?
Was your A/C vent open?
How many people did you flip off on your way through the parking lot?
Glad you are OK, and that the window shattered when you closed the door, and not while on the freeway. Still a huge pain 🙁
All seriousness aside, I find it difficult to believe that your vehicle is sufficiently airtight to cause that kind of damage. That would take some serious big time air pressure. Most car cabins are not fully sealed – check the bottoms and backs of the doors. Even if fully sealed, the weatherstripping is just soft rubber and cannot contain any significant pressure. Nor can the air valves in the ventilation system.
More likely I would think is thermal stress due to expansion in the sun.
Or the car was infected by ebola.
I agree with Avatar. I believe after a 6 month failure mode analysis that “Thermal Snap” will be found to be the most likely cause. This is the technical term for what Avatar was referring to when he said ‘thermal stress due to expansion in the sun’
The glass frame and gaskets of cars are supposed to be designed to prevent/minimize this phenomenon. Thermal Snap, as all CT members know, is where the expansion of a planar object such as solar panel or windshield will heat-up but the mounting sticks and does not allow it to slide along the edges to expand, until after a certain amount of build-up pressure the glass suddenly unsticks and “snaps” to its expanded size. If this occurs while you are in the car (on earth) you will hear a loud sharp snap [as was previously observed by Agent Aquaman on a mission somewhere in the deserts of the SW]. Thus the name “Thermal Snap”.
Feel free to add this to the subject posting. This posting will surely be copied for the Society of Mechanical Engineers monthly magazine or perhaps a PHD thesis at MIT.
Adventure and Integrity
Yeah, once or twice I have seen this, where a rear
window has crumbled into postage stamp sized
pieces. And I figure it’s thermal expansion, too,
happening on a hot day, and the outward
movement of the pieces just might be due to the
window being somewhat concave, and outward
is the way to relieve pressure.
I checked with Uncle Cecil at The Straight Dope,
but came up somewhat empty, hardly worth it: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/archive/index.php/t-618261.html
This seems better:
=====================Agent Renegade OUT.
Our police forces are well trained in the use of military-grade weaponry and crowd-pacification techniques (and I for one, am glad for this protection) but they may not have had the scientific training of CT operatives. I’ll accept the thermal expansion or “thermal snap” as a more likely solution than air pressure.
Therefore, leaving an air space will be totally useless and we are still at the mercy of the elements.
By the way, the window shades (reflective silver) were deployed when this happened, as was a secondary set of grey shades on the side. It sounds like none of this would have made a difference. Good to know. Our best solution is to park in the shade.
I’m tellin ya, it’s ebola.
Avoid “Escape From Tomorrow”
I’m about to give you 2 free hours in your lifetime, that can be used for *any* purpose you select.
If you are tempted to watch the Netflix offering “Escape from Tomorrow,” let me save you the time that you’d spend watching it. one and a half hours of wasted time, that is now yours. I will provide you a quick summary below, if you are still curious. But please don’t be curious; this is not a bad movie that’s so “bad” that you’d want to see it. It is just bad. Even my son Michael, who’s very young and has some time to spare, gave this movie a one-star rating (he tried to stay until the very end)
This movie was filmed at DisneyWorld, without permission from Disney. You can see that the crowd shots are real, the venue is very real and all the actors do well in mingling with the crowds while trying to shoot their scenes. There are several extended shots of the actors in the rides, and this would have been a very easy activity to conceal. Where stealth was not an option (say, an extended dialogue scene) they put the actors in front of a blue-screen background.
Movie night with a dictator.
- On the other side of the scale, we have the Good Guy Festival: G.W. Bush was fond of Armageddon –yuk– and Bill Clinton was a big fan of High Noon —thanks to Gene Siskel’s interview with Clinton, we know all about these White House preferences. [↩]
In Memoriam….. A Race to Final Place
I’ve been meaning to write this small article as a way to encourage the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to include Roger Ebert in their Oscar telecast. But now, with the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman it seems fitting to broach this subject.
AMPAS puts together a memorial section during the Oscars, to commemorate and celebrate the lives of those that have passed the previous year. We would normally see a montage of movie stars and famous directors accompanied by stirring music. Once in a while you’d see a famous producer, and that was OK also. This year I expect to see the big names such as Peter O’Toole and Paul Walker.
But recently this memorial presentation has been getting strange. We’ve been getting listings for publicists, agents, technical tradesmen and even some writers (gasp!). I understand losing someone like Jerry Goldsmith (for music) or someone like Edith Head (for wardrobe) and including them in the montage makes sense. But a publicist? What’s next, casting directors?1 And stop putting in people that made 1 film but were famous in some other field (Michael Jackson comes to mind).
Movies are a visual medium. Unless the person is in front of the camera, or controlling that camera, or making news outside of the movie industry (say, TV or music) so that they are familiar to us, don’t include them. Wardrobe and art direction are something we can see on the screen; include those folks.
Having said that, now I have to make a case to include Roger Ebert2. He was an amazing writer and he wrote about movies. Even in his non-movie essays, he’d find a way to reference movies, to show how movies changed his life. He championed good movies and good movie-viewing technology. He fought against the evils of colorization and Bowdlerization and was a promoter of film to the very end. He should be included.
And what the heck, put Phillip Seymour Hoffman in also, event though his passing was in 2014 and outside of the scope of the memorial.
- Jiminy, they put in a casting director and omit some of the stars from Star Trek? Heresy !! [↩]
- His website RogerEbert.com is still one of the best places to read about film (both new and old) and essays about diverse interesting subjects. If you miss his writing, like I do, go over there and feast on decades of his brilliant essays and reviews. [↩]
Man’s (Mad) Ingenuity
I read somewhere that the only difference between men and apes is the former’s ability to use tools. So were it not for our simian friends’ lack of access to a Tool Depot credit card, we could see chimpanzees driving down the freeway or flying planes1. And although we have seen rudimentary behavior by apes using branches or twigs to extract ants out of the ground, they still have a long way to go before they invent an air-compressed bolt extractor.
Which brings me back to Man: is tool-invention still part of our mental process? Since every tool has already been invented, do we still strive to create new ones? The following pictures show that the answer is a resounding YES. These are creative uses for everyday items and are sometimes referred to as Life Hacks2.
But call me an apostate, I don’t believe everything I read on the Internet. My comments follow each life hack below, and there’s even a fun video presentation that is a lot more entertaining than my dry prose.
My take: If you use the lid as a coaster, you can now spill your drink. And if you pick up the cup, the coaster comes with it. Looks strange, but it would work.
The proposal: All pots are designed to allow you to rest your spoon on the handle.
My take: The pan hole was made primarily to hang the pan on the wall. You could use it to hold a spoon, but only if you found a spoon that fits the hole. I suspect that some “creative” whittling was done to make it work.
Was the soda can designed to hold your straw in place?
My take: Soda can tab was modified in order to save material. It just happens to also function as a straw holder, if you rotate it. But then, why was it made to rotate? The rotation serves no purpose. I suspect it’s a manufacturing side effect (to attach tab to can) and not intended to facilitate your straw holder configuration.
The proposal: Tic Tac boxes were expressely designed to dispense *one* Tic Tac at a time.
My take: I believe this one. But could someone tell me what happened to the “Toe” in tic-tac-toe ?? Someone got paid really well to come up with this name, incredibly.
And here is a video that will put it all in perspective. Enjoy.
POSTSCRIPT: I promised that I would add a life hack of my own so that you can promote/criticize it. Turnabout is fair play, as they say !
My proposal: Cut an empty tube of toothpaste in half and clean out the bottom part (throw away the part that has the cap). You can now flatten the other half and put it in your pocket for a handy-dandy drinking cup. As a kid, I loved the telescoping plastic drinking cups and bemoaned the fact that you cannot find them anymore. But this flexible, unbreakable, plastic tube becomes a nice drinking cup. You can make it shorter for convenience and you can fold the top to prevent it from getting cruddy with pocket lint (yuk).