So Many Cords and Cables

The modern world is an amazing place.  We can do so much more than the generation before.  The only thing is that all of this needs electricity.  No, this isn’t a rant against nuclear power (for rants please see my other blog “The Octagonal Peg” located in the blogs I follow section located at the lower right).  Instead, I just want to lament the need for so many cords and cables.  So, so many cords and cables.

As a modern hobbyist, I have a ton of cords, a ton.  I’ve got adaptors for power for computers, DVD players, video games, tools, soldering irons, battery chargers, air compressors, and train power.  That isn’t really bad, because everyone has cords.  The problem is that I have to also include the staggering amount of USB cords I have.

USB stands for universal serial bus.  Clever acronym, but I have to take issue with the word universal.  Indeed, from the computer connection, it is universal.  Everyone I have fits into the USB slot in my computer.  The problem is, though, every single one of them has a different end that fits into the device.  So, for every modern, cool, hi-tech piece of equipment I have, I have another USB cable.  Perhaps I should be thankful that they seem to only come in two colours (white and black, though I suspect there are some grey ones out there) but it does make them difficult to distinguish when I am in a hurry.  I don’t want to over dramatize the dilemma, but I think frustration is a word that best categorizes it.

Someday, everything will be wireless.  A lot of things already are.  I should just sit back, complain less, and await this day.  Not really my style, though.  Until that day, as I drown in a sea of cords, cables, and other wires, as I occasionally trip over them, I will voice my concerns.

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Camping: The Lost Art

My tent was just like this

I haven’t been camping in more than fifteen years.  I find that funny because that was something I used to look forward to every summer.  That’s only partially true.  Camping fever started around the May long weekend (what we in Canada refer to as May 24, or Victoria Day).  It was rarely the perfect weather, but you could usually plan to spend some days outdoors.

Though I haven’t been camping I have kept up with advances in camping technology.  Most of my friends have opted for hard top tent trailers (if they haven’t been able to afford a cottage, but nowadays who can?), propane stoves, space heaters, air compressors to blow up air mattresses, though more likely for beach balls, water wings and other inflatable water toys.  Heck, they even have full sinks.

It is a far cry from my days with a square tent with heavy aluminum poles (state of the art at the time) and guide strings.  I remember having to pump up both the stove and lantern before they could be used.  Washing dishes required a good size bucket and again, pumping that stove for hot water.

Though I sound bitter, I am probably just jealous.  Today’s tents go up in a flash, and I wouldn’t have to go into oxygen deficit to blow up an air mattress.  Heck, I could probably bring along a portable DVD player and watch a movie or two.

Among my circle, I must congratulate my younger brother and sister (as well as their spouses) for still being hardcore enough to hike kilometres through dense bush and portage between rivers and lakes and mosquito infested areas for that pristine, back to basics camping.  Though I wouldn’t do it, I respect them for keeping it real in every sense of the word.

As I look back on it, I probably gave up on the whole camping thing after one memorable trip in which every single one of us decided to bring hot dogs as our contribution to the communal meals.  I like hot dogs, but I am not sure they should be eaten every meal.

That’s pretty cool

On the subway the other day I saw someone reading a comic book on his iPad.  I can’t deny it, I felt incredibly jealous.  Not only do I not have an iPad, but I certainly do not have the app that lets you read comic books.  It seemed really cool.

Yes, technology lust had reared its sleek head.  I saw it, and I want to have it.  Funny how that works.  Watching a TV commercial about it wouldn’t have elicited the same response.  I seem to have some will power where TV is concerned.

Knowing that I really shouldn’t be investing in the iPad (I like how the word investing makes it seem more worthwhile)  I probably have to avoid the iStore with every fibre of my being.  It is definitely a trap.  Definitely a trap.  What a fantastic trap.

I guess there will be a day when all comics will be digital and won’t be released in paper form.  That might actually be okay–probably play havoc with the collector market, but what else is technology for.

With enough memory, I could probably load every comic book ever made into the iPad and carry them around with me all the time.  That would be cool.

Calvin and Hobbes

There is nothing that makes me more nostalgic, or take me back screaming to my younger days than Calvin and Hobbes.  There is no denying it, it was a fantastic comic strip, and it makes me laugh every time I open the book–and I do that a lot.

I am not sure if it was the theme of a boy and his tiger, or the time travelling, or the incredible daydreams….. but it struck a chord with me that has never stopped.  I love it now as much as I did the first day I read it.

It raises the hard what if question.  What if Bill Waterson hadn’t stopped when he did?  Would we still be laughing at the exploits that precocious boy and his rational, sceptical tiger?  I would like to believe that we would.  In that way the world would be a better place.

I still find a few comics worth reading.  Zits and Retail come to mind.  In recent months Dilbert has also come to have greater importance.  They are funny, and occasionally profound.  However, if I miss them, it doesn’t cause any fuss.

All I can say about Calvin and Hobbes is that profoundness along with humour were a given.  If I missed a day, (and this was pre-internet) I was crushed and recovery was a hard road.

I miss you Calvin and Hobbes.

Pay Attention Hollywood

Here are the poll resutls.  I wish more of you had voted, but that is out of my control.
I guess 3D movios aren’t the most popular thing in the world.  Nobody loved them without question and most people thought they weren’t worth the money.  I guess that is how things work.

The results were that:

           0% of the people loved them and thought they were worth every penny.
          60% of the people thought they weren’t worth the money.
          20% thought they were good for Holllywood Blockbusters only.
          20% thought that there are too many 3D movies out there.

All I can say is pay attention Hollywood.
 

A Day Out

the stuff I bought today….though I wasn’t going to buy anything.

Isn’t it amazing that when you go to a hobby shop, and have no intention of buying anything, you always come home with stuff.  I wish I could lie and say the stuff just followed me home, but that just wouldn’t be true.

Today I went to three different hobby shops.  Although I primarily went to look at train stuff, I managed to look at paint, car models, plane models, slot cars, magazines, science fiction models, tools, and lots of equipment.  All in all it was a good day.

If you need a day out, a trip to your local hobby shop would be a great idea.  You could go an just talk to people and share ideas on your hobby.  You don’t have to buy anything.  Really.  You don’t have to buy anything.  Of course, that is what I told myself before I left for the shops today.

Finally!!!

Finally.

6 months of saving up the money

One tense night of deciding

One moment of courage to make the decision

Relief when one package arrived

Anticipation for the final package

Disappointment when the package failed to arrive

Numerous emails to correct the problem

Frantic checking of the UPS number

7 weeks waiting in total

Finally it has all arrived

 

My N scale Scenic Ridge Layout kit is now in my possession.  I picked up the last overdue piece from the post office today.  It was quite the struggle to wait, but it is finally here.

I have already chronicled why I cam to buy this kit, and I have not wavered in that decision since I bravely completed the order form.  I am sad that what was supposed to be my vacation project has now become a weekend project, but that is just the way it has to be.

I will take time to write about my progress and include my pictures.  Hopefully you will enjoy it.