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Month: October 2008

Old Chair For Sale

My old office chair.

Now that I have a new office chair I would like to get rid of my old one. Are any of you interested? I’d like to get $20 for it, but I’d also take some pizza, order of decent Thai food, or whatever else you’d want to trade for it.

UPDATE: Sorry for not updating sooner, but the chair is now spoken for. Thanks for the interest!

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Haworth Improv HE

A few days ago I received what I thought was spam from a company called ISCG offering up very cheap office furniture. After realizing that the email was actually from a local who sells office furniture from whom I’d requested info in the past, I gave it a closer look. It turns out that the message was an advertisement in which they offered up some demo, used, and otherwise unwanted pieces for rather cheap.

The message showed a table which I thought would work out well for Danielle to sit at in my office, so I called them to inquire about the piece. It turns out that they have a warehouse / repair shop over on Lincoln in Royal Oak, so I met up with someone there at noon today to check out the table. The table looked great and I ended up picking up two office chairs as well. What’s best is that the chairs are the same models I’ve been sitting in at work for the last number of years, the Haworth Improv HE and Accolade.

The total price ended up being $100, broken down as $25 each for the table and Haworth Accolade, and $50 for the Haworth Improv HE. This is an excellent price, as I was looking into a brand new Improv HE earlier this year and it was going to cost $375 or so. I figure that $50 for one with a few scratches is perfectly fine. The Improv HE can be seen above or here, and here is Danielle sitting at the table on the Accolade where it was first set up in the living room.

While most people have been favoring the Herman Miller Aeron chair I’ve found the plastic frame of the seat to be a bit awkward. I occasionally sit with one leg to the side, but on an Aeron the frame gets in the way. While researching chairs I’d realized that as I’ve been sitting on an Improv HE since moving to my current work facility in 2001 for hours a day with relative comfort and that maybe I should just get one of these. Now, I have one, and at a very reasonable price. Even better, Danielle has a proper place to sit, not just at the end of my desk.

Oh, and I just passed gas on the chair for the first time. I guess it’s christened and ready to go.



Graph of the network traffic on when 23 Tubes 1 Bowl was posted to BoingBoing.

A bit over a month ago I made a post entitled 23 Tubes 1 Bowl detailing my dispensing of 23 sample size tubes of toothpaste into one bowl. Well, on Tuesday it was posted on BoingBoing.

This had the expected effect, with a tremendous surge in traffic in traffic of 4-5 Mb/sec, with one spike of over 10 Mb/sec. Strangely, despite all the hits, I only received something like $3 in ad revenue over the last day. When Lightsticks In The Toilet made digg the earnings were something like $30 the first day, and $12 the second. This surprised me a bit and showed that dental-related ads probably just don’t pay that much.

That graph up top shows the spike of traffic observed. The server is currently on a burstable 1 Mb/sec connection, billed 95th percentile. As this is figured on a monthly basis I’ve managed to stay under this limit, so this BoingBoinging won’t cost any extra. It’s nice to see that a bunch of people found the photos interesting, too. I had fun taking them, I just didn’t like the strong mint smell which was hanging wherever the bowl went.

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Home-Brewing Coffee Statistics

Coffee beans and the sheet of paper on which I tracked how many cups can be made from two pounds of beans.

I’ve mentioned before that I’d been logging how many cups of coffee were made, how many grind cycles executed, and how many coffee filters consumed in my daily coffee making. This was done so that I could determine just how cost effective it is for me to make coffee at home each morning versus stopping to get coffee.

First, the stats:

Two Pounds of Kirkland-brand (Costco) Coffee Beans, whole: $11.99
Mr. Coffee-brand burr grinder, grind set half-way between C and D, timer set to 7 or 8: ~$35
Aerobie AeroPress Coffee Maker: ~$30

Servings Produced: 25
Grind Cycles: 21
Filters Used: 4
Water Used: 2 Cups (Per Serving)

As the AeroPress and grinder are more than two years old, I will consider these sunk costs and not take them into account in these figures. I am also still working through the original set of filters which came with the AeroPress, so I do not need to take filter cost into account yet. Once I do, typical cost is $3.99 – $5.99 for 350 filters and I normally use a single filter for around five servings, adding $0.00228 to $0.00342 to each serving of coffee.

Electricity will be particularly hard to quantify with the challenges of metering a hard-wired appliance, so I will assume the microwave consumes 1000W peak, which is typical for a microwave of this size. My most recent electrical bill was charged at just under $0.12/kWh. At 3:30 of usage per serving of coffee, this is around $0.007 of electricity.

The two pounds of coffee were ground into just a bit more than was needed to make 25 servings. The measurement for this was not particularly accurate, but as I use the same technique for scooping each morning so this shall be assumed to be a consistent measurement. With the $11.99 price for the two pounds of coffee, this results in a cost of $0.48 per serving for each cup of coffee. It must be noted that the coffee used in this study was a bit more costly than typical Kirkland-brand coffee. The three pound bag I purchased to use after this one also cost $11.99. It can then be expected that this bag of coffee will cost 50% less per serving ($0.3197).

Now, the figures:

Tall Black Coffee from Starbucks: $1.64 (incl. tax)
Medium Black Coffee from Beaners / Biggby: $1.79 (incl. tax)
One Serving (~16oz) of Coffee From Home: $0.487 (at $11.99 for 2 lb)
Daily Savings: ~$1.25~$1.40

Sure, there’s also a time cost, but preparing this coffee takes around five minutes per morning, which is a bit less than the amount of time it would take to stop at a coffee shop and pick up coffee. It’s also more convenient to not have to stop somewhere every day. With the cheaper current bag of coffee, the daily savings will increase by around $0.15 per serving.

I could save even more by waiting until I get to work and drinking the coffee there, but it’s really awful quality Aramark-branded crap which has a persistent smell and taste of burnt brush. There is a Flavia machine in one of the buildings at work which I could use, but the layered plastic and foil packet discarded with each serving is horribly wasteful and I prefer not to use this for the exact same reason why I eschew home-use single serving coffee packages.

Speaking of single-serving coffee makers and waste, making coffee at home produces far less waste. While I do throw out coffee grounds every day and the inevitable bag it is all packed in, these would be discarded by the coffee shop. What I do not dispose of is the paper cup, jacket, and plastic lid provided with each cup, and I hope that the grounds contribute (in some small way) to a landfill decomposing just a little bit faster.

For completeness sake, here’s the process I follow to make coffee each morning:

· Run a grind cycle.
· Microwave two cups of water for 3:30.
· Fit the AeroPress with a filter, selecting a new one if the current one is clogged or old, setting the AeroPress on a pint glass to catch the coffee.
· Put three measures of ground coffee into the AeroPress, measured with the scoop provided with the AeroPress.
· Pour enough water (about one cup) into the AeroPress to fill it, then stir with the paddle until all grounds are suspended (about 10 seconds).
· Push the brewed coffee out through the filter with the plunger.
· Remove the filter retainer, rinse and save the filter if it isn’t too clogged nor old.
· Discard the used grounds into the trash can.
· Pour coffee from the pint glass into the Bodum Travel Mug that I use daily.
· Pour remaining hot water into travel mug until it is full. Stir briefly with paddle to mix.
· Rinse all parts and stack them to dry for the next use.

Yes, I know that I should be composting these, but living in a condo makes composting prohibitively difficult.


5kg of Nutella

5 kg, $50-some container of Nutella seen at Vince and Joe's at 25 Mile and VanDyke.

While at Vince & Joe’s Gourmet Market at 25 Mile and VanDyke this past weekend Danielle and I spotted this giant 5 kg jar of Nutella. The price was somewhere in the $50 range. I wish I had checked out the nutritional info for specifics, but per this a 15g serving has 4.7g of fat and 80 kcal (Calories, for us Americans).

That means that this whole jar would contain 1567g of fat and 26667 kcal. Yes, that’s about 3.5 pounds of pure fat and the one day nutritional requirements for over 10 average, healthy males.

Here, have some more moblog photos:

· Today while at Circuit City purchasing headphones I was given a Spore t-shirt.
· Danielle and I sitting at a Cottage Inn Pizza in Ann Arbor waiting for game day traffic to clear.
· The plastic tub which contained the chipotle hot wings Danielle ate for dinner.
· Fifth Third’s new ATM graphics include an image of someone standing at a drive-up ATM.
· Someone at Stony Creek High School parked very close behind me while I was off on a bike ride.
· Bolle Sports Google


Fox Run Garbage Disposal Screen

After many years my Fox Run brand garbage disposal screen has started falling apart. I need a replacement, but they are hard to find.

Back when I first moved into my apartment I purchased a nice plastic screen to cover my garbage disposal opening. It’s worked well, but due to my putting it in the dish washer, things being dropped on it, and general exposure to cleaning stuffs it’s begun failing. I suspect that it’ll break any day now.

Looking around online I found that I can get them for $2.49/each from, but there is also $5.95 shipping. I also spent some time designing a replacement for it in to be made at, (screenshot of the part being designed is here) but their system was estimating a price of ~$400 for an anodized aluminum part, and ~$700 for ten pieces.

I’d prefer not to pay rather high online shipping prices, but I think that just ordering two will be worth it. I’ve been able to find plenty of other strainers, but they usually have too few holes and don’t drain well or are mesh and thus hard to clean. This one has worked out great for years, it’s just time to replace it.

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Not Good Things

Since Friday the following things have happened:

· Found out that the mother of a friend of Danielle’s is going into hospice this week.
· A coworker and friend’s grandma was found on the floor of her room disoriented, leading to the discovery of a baseball-sized tumor behind her eye.
· My grandpa’s brother, and his only remaining sibling, died.

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Cleaning Things Up

Residue left over on the plunger of an Aerobie AeroPress after making many cups of coffee and only rinsing the AeroPress between uses.

In anticipation of our forthcoming vacation to the UK I’ve begun a thorough cleaning of the house. I really like going on vacation and coming back home to a nice, clean house. As part of this I spent a few hours today cleaning the bathrooms resulting in things like this very shiny faucet.

I also started doing all the outstanding laundry and did a bunch of dishes. Part of the dishes was cleaning off the Aerobie AeroPress which builds up some rather interesting residue on the rubber plunger and flat stirring paddle. Tonight before washing it I partially scraped it off and took that photo above. As you can see it’s a very fine, oily residue.

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Abnormal Whisker

Abnormal, extra thick whisker compared to a normal one.

Every couple of months I notice an abnormal, particularly thick whisker growing out of the right side of my neck just above my laryngeal prominence (Adam’s apple). The most recent time I found one of these I pulled it out and saved it so that I could photograph it. Here it is compared to a normal whisker removed from the same part of my neck after not shaving for approximately one week. Click on the photo or here for the photo at full resolution.

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