ShopTalk Sunday: Some Assembly, Alchemy Notes

When you look at the world through “de-monetized glasses” this week, there are three things highlighting Life.  Assembly of presents, personal changes at the Winter Solstice.  And of course, food.

Some Assembly Required

Over the course of almost 73-years, the relative importance of Christmas has changed a lot.  The old Sears Wish Book while watching the snow (or rain) pile up out the living room window worked until about Age 5.  After that, Christmas faded to a “time of year when you buy affordable things” to now “What day did you say it was?”

The presents in that early era didn’t require much assembly.  With the exception of the Revel plastics models. There were other brands, too.  Monogram made some. The Wiki entry brings back the smell of airplane glue, doesn’t it?

“In the late 1940s several American companies such as Hawk, Varney, Empire, Renwal and Lindberg began to produce plastic models. Many manufacturers began production in the 1950s and gained ascendancy in the 1960s such as Aurora, Revell, AMT, and Monogram in America, Airfix in UK and Heller SA in France.”

For some reason, I never got much into car models.  Airplane models were just OK since biplane wings ALWAYS got more glue on them (and the spars) to the point they looked like flying sandpaper.

The most complex “some assembly” was the original Erector Set.  Looks like the patent has run out on them, however.  The ones for sale bear only a faint resemblance to the “real deal.”

A few small sailing ship models were opened.  These (like Blue Nose) ranged from the simple (which came out OK) to rigging disasters (Cutty Sark).

Probably the reason for some success is that friends of the family, down in pre-revolution Portland, OR included Carl Hansen.  Whose model ships graced several museums.  These were huge – like on the order of 3-feet overall.

Each line is properly coiled on his models, and he could name ’em all.  Took me a while to unlearn calling one particular sail a “spanker.”   At the local privileged yachty-boy joints they’d insist on “spinnaker” and pronounce it “spin acre.”  Not if you sailed cargo from Portland to Asia and bulk on the return in the 1890’s on square-riggers, as Carl had.  But I digress.

Tools of Assembly

Gifts that involve assembly should be marked “online” and “offline.”

Online gifts are those where the assembly is simple enough it can be done tree-side.  Offline presents are those which are assembled after everyone else has opened their gifts and dessert is completed.  (Surely, we can’t have been the only family to wolf-down Christmas dinner and then sprint to the tree, promising we weren’t hungry for dessert?)

Modern (online) gifts require you have at the ready:

Phillips screwdriver.  A #2 should work on most gifts up to a short block V8.

An interesting thing most workmen don’t know is that Phillips is not the name of the screwhead’s inventor.  Seriously, John P. Thompson of Portland, OR invented it!  According to the Oregon Encyclopedia:

“When the patents were granted in 1933, the rights were assigned “By Direct and Mesne Assignments” to Henry F. Phillips, the managing director of the Oregon Copper Company, a mining outfit in eastern Oregon. The wording on the patent means that it was awarded directly to Henry Phillips, even though Thompson is credited with the invention.”

Batteries:  A dozen each of triple-A, double-A, and a half-dozen C batteries should see you through Christmas, OK.

However, since so many toys (including smartphones, tablets, controllers, and do-dads) use Lithium-something batteries, you’ll also want to add one USB quick-charger for everyone present, adding 3-per child from age 11 to 60.

A generic charger will take far longer than a 15W or larger source.

Adjustable Wench:  These usually become unadjustable withing six months of marriage.]

Adjustable Wrench:  A 6″ *(small one) should be able to set up most gifts, except that short block…

Pocket Knife:  I prefer a hook bill rescue knife for opening packages.  Since we outgrew presents and went pure wire transfer gifting, knives are only good for opening the Mail.  Which is a good thing since between Prime and the competing W+ every day is Christmas.

Pigtails: Get some of those power cubes on Amazon.  Many have a good assortment of odd-sized connectors and have adjustable output voltages.  We try to keep a spare on hand, but you know that never worked out.

Personal Alchemy Time

A proper mindset is needed going into this week for a huge number of reasons.  Here are just some of them:

Again, Around the Sun:  Know what happens Tuesday, right?  At 10:59 A.M. EST Tuesday pause and take a breath.   Try to just BE for a few minutes.

Expect Earthquake, Circular Ceremonies:  If you don’t have the self-awareness for the Tuesday BE moment, see if you can follow these data drops:

Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year.  Solstices in winter and summer can trigger earthquakes because of crustal stresses.

Holidays in the majority of cultures mark the Solstices.  Some, like the Pagan Winter Festival, were highjacked and turned into Christmas.  This was later rejacked by Greedsters.  And ever since, we suffered the Season of Giving morphing into The Season of Getting.  Audaciously, at the height of which we proclaim progress through technology. Uh….

Best Sleep of the Year:  When winter comes, some people’s dream states change.  It’s a marvelous time to remember that when reviewing your dreams, don’t just look at the foreground events.  Look at the backgrounds and backdrops.  Very useful stuff for an alchemist.

Time to See Future:  Along with normal REM sleep, this is an auspicious week for seeing Future if you have even a whiff of “the gift.”  Some access tips:

  • If you have ever touched “the Gift” try to remember every condition at the time you experienced it.  How much sleep had you gotten?  How much (and what food) did you eat, and how long ago?  Recreating these things can improve your Gift utilization skills.  (It’s like of like a hunch-dream with video, you’ll know one when it happens.)
  • Literalism is your friend in alchemical works.  Just as a starting point, have you ever considered when an arcane book refers to “seeing” that human attention has several “optical vantage points.”
    • Open eyes, soft focus, who world.
    • Open eyes, hard focus, specific thing in world.
    • Closed eyes, cerebral cortex visual awareness screen on (what you see when close eyes when awake)
    • Closed eyes, cerebral focus off hard screen, brain screen mode. (Entered at a deeply relaxed level and this is where runic personal “source code” can appear.)
    • Eyes closed; all sensory inputs turned down.  From here, mental imagery to your dream-switching station determines what work (if any at all) will be done in this sleep session getting underway.
  • Eight Hours for real rest.  This may sound odd, but remember humans are like radio receivers.  They can only “hear” as well as their own “internal static.”  Humans work exactly like this.  If you have Big, Important unresolved issues in your head, any predictive, low-level global mass consciousness info will be swamped by replays of that coffee you spilled on your lap the previous day.  Boring and quiet seems ahead.  My owrk is best after 10-hours OR 8 hours, plus get up and then go take an after-breakfast nap.

Practice “Brain-Splitting”

Here’s a really good, but odd-sounding, exercise to do a couple of times per day.

Sit in a fairly dark room with a flashlight.  Not a real powerful one, though.

With both eyes closed, move the flashlight to in front of one eye, but shielded from the other, so it’s in complete darkness.

If you follow directions, one of your eyelids will light up and you’ll “see this in mind.”  Now, while you think about it, remember that the light is only coming in from ONE eye.  Slowly move your attention to the eye that has only darkness as an input.  See the blackness?  And as you learn to hold attention, see the designs?

Now log results for each side. Trying to figure out what that rhythm is.

Chow Hound Christmas

Tomorrow I will be picking up a good-sized grocery run:  $531 for two for two weeks.  My order will be at drive-up fairly early in the day. Elaine will hold down this end for an hour.  Not that we don’t trust many people, but we don’t. The “San Francisco Early Christmas with a Brick” is not our idea of joy and good tidings.  We have 7.62 answers.

There’s a tough choice to be made between roasts turkey or a prime rib.  We’re blessed to face such decisions.  That’s an awareness that disqualifies me from employment in a social media company.

Soup’s On!

One of the joys of this week will be Monday’s Sooper Soup.  You can go over to my buddy Gaye Levy’s site and read Lose Weight and Feel Great with Cabbage Soup & a Healthy Diet – Strategic Living ( for the general idea.

Though Gaye and I have been friends (with spouses) for almost 50-years, I have never disputed her wisdom.  Until this soup thing came up.  Musta been 43 years ago, or so.

You see in Ure’s Sooper Soup, the following changes had to be made:

  • First thing I do is find meatballs.  A pound and a half.  There’s just not enough from the meatplex in her recipe.
  • I use the whole cabbage and a much bigger pot.  Reason is I hate to have any leftover vegetable.
  • With a bigger pot, I can put in two or three cans of broth and more of everything else.  And a whole cabbage.
  • Use two cans of diced anything brand tomatoes plain.
  • I leave out the bell peps, too.  Omeprazole, right?
  • I use powdered garlic, lacking the patience to peel cloves of garlic.

I also serve mine with either garlic French bread or French bread with parmesan cheese toasted under the grill. (Gaye’s objective was to be healthy, lose weight.  We suffer no such delusions. Mine goal is to get protein and enjoy raised gluten project.  So sure, then: three big glasses of red wine with it, too.

The Gift of True Relaxation

Two personal practices when I want to have a totally relaxed day:

  • Sleep until you run out of things to dream about.
  • And when you wake up, just lay there with a blank mind and let the day present itself to you, rather than grabbing your club and rushing into it.

Unless you want to actually talk to someone, turn the ringer off (but not if you don’t have a smoke and CO2 detector).

We all run around with the little voice that says “have to…”  As in “Don’t forget you have to….”  That’s stress.  Opposite of relaxed.  Just for the day, turn off the voice.  The real list of “Have-Too’s” is short.  “Breathe.”  You don’t have to do anything on a day off.

This is the time of the year to work on doing “one extra thing nice” for that special person in the world.

This is the kind of thing to be done year-round, but sometimes we forget.

When you remember in May or August?  Amazon or W+.

Write when you get richer,

22 thoughts on “ShopTalk Sunday: Some Assembly, Alchemy Notes”

  1. Does anyone remember Airfix plastic models in 1/72? Better than Revell or Monogram – more detail. See “Bit o Lace” B-17G.
    Of course, the glue fumes destroyed my brain.
    Remember the purchase-age restrictions panic when the adults discovered the kids were huffing?
    Ah, the good old days….

  2. “Jailhouse Junkque Soop”
    Large soup pot.
    2 cans Progresso Minestrone
    (or, make your own as a base.)
    Fry up 10 links Italian sausage. 50/50 hot and sweet.
    Slice into disks maybe a half inch or less thick.
    One or two large red onions, diced up.
    Plenty extra veggies — carrots, peas, rice, etc.
    A cup of Rotelli or Rotini (screws). Add to the
    cold mix, and it’ll cook in the soup, absorbing
    much fine, complex taste.
    Spice like crazy. Cayenne, Oregano, Tumeric etc.
    Add water as may become necessary.
    Bring to slow boil for a while, and let stand
    for a while. Bring back to low boil, and
    serve up.
    Will have the general consistency of crude slop.
    (Generally men like this and women hate it.)
    Divided up, it freezes well for another later day.

  3. Do you posters skim research papers? These experimenters did their experiments about 1 year ago so there has been follow-up.

    Real-time dialogue between experimenters and dreamers during REM sleep


    • Dream reports given after people awaken are often fragmentary and distorted
    • Our methods allow for two-way communication with individuals during a lucid dream
    • For a proof-of-concept demonstration, we presented math problems and yes-no questions
    • Dreamers answered in real time with volitional eye movements or facial muscle signals

  4. Poppedeye understands spanker sail,uggugug..loose Ure grip on one of those lines…they would not be going up without strong wind around, you be getting spanked and or knocked the hell out. Too bad ole Carl was couple hundred years too late, although The Straights of Carl Hansen dont sound nearly as formidable as the straits of jaunita my shortz, unh I mean straits of Juan de Fuca.
    Now if in we can just muddle through the upcoming 3 days of Death 26/27/28th, perhaps the Son will be resurrected..once again..just dont look past the corona over the horizon..

  5. I still like the Tenergy Centura NiMH low self-discharge batteries for AAA, AA, C, D & 9-Volt cells. Tenergy claims up to 2100 recharges for that series. Occasionally you run into devices which just have to have alkalines to operate (I have one remote control like that), but flashlights, portable radios and most other electronics work with the Centura’s. Tenergy can be bought off Amazon, but they also have a website store:
    Hint: Buy the Centura’s, not the Premiums. The Centura’s have much lower self-discharge, and are rated for twice the recharge cycles.

    One of the things that most people don’t have is a battery charger which works off of both AC and 12VDC with auto lighter adapters. You occasionally find them on Amazon. You may could adapt some of the 12 VDC input chargers from Tenergy which don’t come with lighter plugs, but that is strictly at your own risk. That is the sort of item to keep one or two of in a Faraday. The newest chargers now do LI-ion and LiFePO4 cells. If LiFePO4 cells were to ever become available in standard sizes, I will probably consider using them.
    Many of the portable radios now have both USB rechargeable Li-ion internal batteries, and a compartment for standard cells. The radio below is good one:
    Amazon still sells ’em.

    Along with the new electronics, buy surge suppressors. Go for 1 ns or faster response. The prices on the Siemens FS-140 whole house surge suppressors have gone way up:

    Most of the newer surge suppressors from Tripp-lite are fast enough. The little Spike-cubes are economical:

    For DC surge suppression, go to Arthur Bradley’s site:

    Also look at Arthur’s Youtube channel:

    I’ll leave the solar power stuff for G____ to discuss.

    This is a good Christmas to beef up your grid-connected and off-grid power capabilities.

  6. seriously , really ? you americans are letting a brain dead , demented , evil old pedophile continue to masquarade as a president and destroy america ? really ? what the . you wanted to impeach willy for a stray ? whats wrong ? what the hell do you beleive him . fauci and the nazi collaborator gates should have been arrested ages ago for treason against america ? what the hell

  7. Phew.. I am busy pasteurizing wine LOL killing the wild yeast.. since it took off again.. I decided to get busy and pasteurize it all.. big job.. you would think it wouldn’t take that long to pasteurize a couple hundred bottles of wine.. it does.. you have to take the corks out put it in the bath.. toss in the souse vide and get it to 140 for twenty minutes.. so.. in essence you can only do a case a day.. and I do this on sundays usually..

    • decided to name the wild grape JOLLY JUICE GRAPE.. I don’t have a clue what percentage the alcohol is.. it sure does taste good though.. got a kick like a mule..

  8. 1. crush garlic clove with your palm on top of a spatula or whatever. skin then comes off quickly and easily.

    2. place powdered garlic in nearest trashcan where it belongs.

  9. Varney, Lindberg, Aurora, Revell, AMT, and Monogram — I had them all — including that selfsame Cutty Sark model (which I think was a Revell.) When my airplane models were 75 cents, that Cutty model was $13.95, and the rigging was an absolute nightmare. I never liked the rigging, because there was no way to make it look good and I couldn’t swap in my Mom’s sewing thread and improve the look.

    • Thinking back before living on a sailboat for over a decade, who would believe the fine print in the Cutty Sark assembly manual about “standing” versus “running” rigging?

  10. uk numbers are all bogus 23.5 million people no kill shot !! even cdc admits its all bogus . what the !@#$% when are you guys gunna arrest these creeps !!! when !!!!!!!!!!!!! what more

    • Unfortunately Len, by our legal process, things like this require the agreement of a 2/3 majority in our Senate, to remedy. The party that’s destroying the U.S. is actually in the majority, and known for “party unity” over doing what’s right. President Biden could slip the salami to an 8yo girl (like that CNN Producer) on live TV and he wouldn’t be impeached or arrested. This is why those Yanks who’ve acquired a clue are so pissy regarding our politics — There’s simply nothing we can do about it right now…

  11. I really had to laugh at the product description on eBay for the ATS-25 radio from the China knock-off shop. List of included items says: “Instruction Manual is NOT included. If you are not a professional, do not order.”

    Well… I WAS a professional, but I retired now. So that leaves me in the ‘Amateur’ category. Adept at fiddling with settings… who needs a book?

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