Sunday, March 27, 2011

Book 12: Made By Hand

Obviously, I am a fan of making things by hand and fixing what I have, but I still put down this book thinking that Mark Frauenfelder is kind of douchey. He's pretty oblivious to what a privileged life he leads. I am so sick of fixing things (and cleaning the things and fixing the things that clean and cleaning the things that fix) that frankly at the end of the day, I don't want to make a cigarbox guitar. I want to knit or read a book. I harbor no illusion that a baby blanket is qualitatively superior because I made it. The value is based on emotions, the sentimental ties between myself and the recipient.

So Frauenfelder has kept chickens, and thus built a chicken coop from wood he saved when tearing down a shed. He has several instances in the book where he talks about all the bits and bobs he saves because he might use them some day and all I can think is "his poor wife." (I read recently, by the by, that Chickens are the New Knitting. At one time Knitting was the New Yoga. I guess time marches on.) His life is very full of stuff, it's just old junky stuff instead of new shiny stuff. I must just be too middle class to appreciate the nuances because I don't see how this makes him morally superior, which is definitely the undercurrent of the book. I do feel superior to people who can't fix a flat or drive stick or make bread or replace a button or catch a fish or grow tomatoes or patch drywall or glaze a window, but that is intellectual superiority. And intellect is an accident of genetics, not something meritoriously earned.

To my way of thinking, keeping stuff because you might need it in the nebulous someday is the underlying issue of our consumerist mentality. I don't lead a low stuff life by any stretch, but maybe from being in a smallish house with 3 other people, a dog and 2 cats I have begun to think of what it costs me to keep things. How much room does this take up? What do I pay per month for that space? How long do I work to earn money to have the stuff? Are those hours at work worth the cost of this stuff? How much upkeep will this thing take in terms the time I'm not at work? If something is not consumable, I don't want to make a commitment to it where the stuff owns me instead of me owning it. This is probably why I have more yarn and books than clothes.

I was hoping for more tutorials in the book but this is not that type of book. Mark may have learned from his mistakes along the way, but we don't really have the information to do so. I get it that he finds the learning and the improvement a vital part of his process. I am all in favor of those things, but I am also no fan of reinventing the wheel. My scrolling screen saver for a while was "If you don't have time to do it right, how will you ever find time to do it over?" So if you are looking for hard info on how to keep chickens, bees or a garden or how to build a cigar box guitar, this is not the book for you.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Maytag Still Sucks

here is the unsurprising email response I got from Maytag:

Thank you for visiting the Maytag web site.  We appreciate hearing from you.

I am very sorry to learn of the problem that you are experiencing regarding your
dishwasher. Based on the information given, it appears your appliance requires

We, as consumers, can certainly understand and appreciate your feelings and
frustrations. When a product fails to meet a consumer’s expectations, it
concerns us. While we make every effort to ensure only the highest quality
materials are used during manufacturing, we cannot guarantee an appliance will
never need repair.

Due to our remote location, it is difficult to determine the exact cause of the
problem that you are experiencing, and we do not have provisions for detailed
technical assistance. We suggest for an accurate diagnosis and satisfactory
addressing of any malfunctioning component that may be contributing to your
concern that you contact one of the factory qualified service companies listed

In an effort to administer our warranty fairly to all customers, Maytag
Corporation complies with our legal, written, product warranty. Once a product
warranty has expired, any costs for maintenance, service, or component
replacements are then within the owner’s time frame of responsibility. We
regret that due to the age of the product, we will be unable to assist with the
cost of the repair.

You are a valued Maytag customer and we apologize for any inconvenience this
concern may have caused.

You may schedule service directly from our website using the link provided below
or by calling our Customer Experience Center.

We invite you to contact Maytag again either by calling (800) 344-1274 between
8:00am to 8:00pm EST weekdays or by emailing whenever the need arises. When
calling please press the available option or stay on the line to reach a


Amanda L.
e-Solutions Specialist
Maytag Customer eXperience Center

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Maytag Sucks

So, The Mister is a video engineer and thus, handy with the electronics. Today, for grins, we took apart the face of the dishwasher and got out the diagnostic sheet taped to the bottom of the unit. :geek: Turns out that Diode P-13 burnt up. Guess which cycle buttons use P-13?

Go on! GUESS!

If you guessed ALL OF THEM you are correct.

My friends, Maytag is officially crappier than your average string of Christmas lights, but instead of costing 5 bucks, it cost about five hundred bucks.

I am officially The Woman Who Hates Maytag. And I have pictures up on
my flickr page. Oh, and again, this dishwasher was purchased on Halloween 2009, so it is less than 18 months old.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Books 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Unveiled and Trial by Desire by Courtney Milan-- I liked Unveiled quite a bit. A most excellent resolution on that one. Trial by Desire I was lukewarm on because the hero was Too Stupid To Live-- he was all angsty emo-boy and frankly, I wanted to slap the hell out of him.

When Beauty Tamed the Beast-- by Eloisa James. This is a retelling of the fairy tale, put in a blender with House. Eloisa James owes us more than this. She is a good writer and I'd rather she put out one book a year than churn out something so. . .rehashed. Not up to potential. I suppose if this were the first book of hers you'd read it would be ok, but I expected more.

Notes From a Small Island-- by Bill Bryson. This book is funny but the time line is all jumbled. I was not always able to reckon about which stint in the UK Bill was writing. I would say this is better vacation reading that bedtime. It needs to be read in long stretches, rather than 30 minutes or so a night.

The Third Revelation -- by Ralph McInerny. Most exciting read of the year. This is a mystery about a former FBI agent, working with the Vatican to recover the stolen 3rd Secret of Fatima and solve some murders. Ralph was Catholic, so this is not like reading anything by Dan Brown. Also, Ralph was a scholar, so this is not like reading anything by Dan Brown. Yes, I went there. If you are not pretty familiar with Catholic Apologetics and Church history, you will want to read this with the innernets handy. I did have to look up a few things and I think I'm slightly above average among Catholics in my knowledge. Sadly, there are just 2 books in this series. I have been informed that the Father Dowling mysteries do not suck like the tv show. Very encouraging!