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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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in celebration of electricity
flying squirrel
You may not know this about me, but there is something about electronics that fascinates me and will likely lead to a coroner's report and a closed-casket funeral with a very weird burned smell rocking the funeral home. This is why I occasionally still get worried check-ins asking me if I've taken apart anything with an x-ray installed in it, or if I still have a knife in my VCR to act as a power conduit. (No, and no. Plasma screen and blu-ray. Though I look forward to exploring these vistas when they break. Which they will. They will.)

Child comes by his own tendencies to break things into their component parts from me; the thing is, I'm not like, inspired to take apart something that won't kill me, like a radio without batteries. I'm not hanging out with walkie-talkies, or sitting around with my Very Special Screwdriver set disassembling my old computers to poke industriously. I'm not even confining myself to nice, safe furniture that will just give me splinters and a jaundiced view of the value of trees. Like everything else in my life, I have to have a reason, a goal if you will. And the goal may be insane, but it's mine, and for reasons that like the love of God passeth understanding, I only get goal-oriented around things that have a voltage high enough to achieve barbecued fingers at minimum and a real potential for x-raying myself to death during the unfortunate incident with a TV a few years ago.

The thing is, this is genetic. To elucidate, many moons ago, our central air went out and being, um, us, the logical course of action was to avoid the expense and rationality of a person trained in air conditioner repairs and whatnot, but carry a bag of twist ties, duct tape, electric tape, a hammer, and a screwdriver and achieve Arctic temperatures by sheer bizarre serendipity. This was my mother, by the way, and we all went to stare and poke--I mentioned my love of high voltage, right? That's genetic too--at the strange conglomeration of twist-ties, tape, and some kind of arrangement of metal that turned a non-functional air conditioner into an air conditioner that feared for its life.

Basically, my genetic line should not have survived the Age of Electricity, because we were totes sticking our fingers into sockets from the beginning.

I don't necessarily think I have outgrown this--ask svmadelyn about my cackling when she let me install a new video card in her computer--more that I've become one with my inner wants-to-live-with-fingers-intact. Mostly, I content myself with cityplanning for Christmas villages, rewiring surround sound with optical cables, and rearranging HDMI in various configurations while trying to work out how to network the Wii and the Playstation 3 to stay stationary and yet play on any TV in the house. I have duct tape, screwdrivers, and access to Frye's. It'll happen.

Then two things happened; one, I bought a new internal hard drive, and my adapter for my laptop went out. Ten minutes ago, I had a set of jeweler's screwdrivers spread out on my bed while I hunted for electric tape to reattach a SATA power converter that was causing the adapter to heat up in a way that caused it to hum at me and things sparked. It only occurred to me this could end in tragedy when I realized all my fic is on this laptop.

Last weekend, my adapter tore near the head; as I was writing, as one does, I hunted through the house and stripped the metal layer off some insulation tape I found in the garage, stripped the plastic back, and created a do-it-yourself-electric-death before wrapping the entire thing in electrical tape. While charging my laptop--and watching the rubber coating start to bubble--and waiting to hit one hundred percent chargd because it wasn't actually dripping yet (I was wrong, so wrong), I thought, I need to take stock of my life. So I did.

I own two large plastic containers of electrical cord and adapters with no discenible purpose; five composite cables, seven S cables, two VGA cables, three types of USB, Firewire that I never use but I may need to despite the fact the size is wrong for every Firewire port in the house, and my personal pride and joy, an adapter with four separate heads that can be used as an emergency power source for four routers (only one of which actually works), a cable modem (that works), and experimented on with everything that needed an adapter. Which is a surprising number of things if you sit down and stare around you for items that may one day need something like that, and try to figure out if it doesn't fit, can you get some foil and make it fit.

I have two large external drive, one in the freezer because the internal power went out, and eventually, I'm going to remember to pick up a new case and take it apart. I have no idea anymore what is on it but that's secondary to the fact that it's like a belated Christmas present one day in the future. There are about a million screws the size of two ants stacked together buried in the carpet from taking apart and putting together no less than three laptops, two desktops, a router, an internal DVD/CDRW drive, and one untyped entity that might or might not have been a stereo before I decided it just needed my Magic Adapter and my screwdriver set (it didn't. I still have it. I still don't know what it began life as. Pretty sure a radio was involved.)

Searching through box three--wait, you really thought there were only two?--I found a.) three laptop adapters that all only suffer from something minor like being torn in half and only need electrical tape and a death wish to get working; b.) IDE cables from Darcy, my first computer, circa 1998; c.) a DVD/CDRW from Schindler, my second computer circa 1999; d.) two floppy drives with no real idea where they came from; e.) several chassises that fit cases that are no longer created; eleven years of installation CDs for everything from Darcy to John II and Mom's Studio; e.) lipstick (terrible color); f.) an army of wireless cards; g.) another lipstick (excellent color); h.) a five-disk DVD changer that works if I take off the cover and shove a screwdriver between two of the ports and twist, and i.) another router.

(The rise of the routers is directly attributable to discovering newegg and a sale at Frye's. They don't work? But maybe if I just take them apart, they will.)

And my new hard drive still isn't installed because the adapter's humming got annoying, it burned my fingers when I tried to pick it up (whatever), and also, the lights started flickering, which may or may not be because of me, but why take chances?

I also have the rubbery covering of my former laptop adapter melted into my comforter.

Seriously. I love my life. I love my screwdrivers with their tiny, computer-and-small-electronic-device compliant heads, and I love that radio shack has a battery powered set with multiple tiny screw heads to change around to my delight. I love that at Frye's, I can buy cable by the foot when it goes on sale, because I will need it, though I don't know exactly how, and somehow, I have twenty feet of cable coiled up beneath my bed for emergencies like if the cable goes out, with a tiny bag of coaxial heads because scyfy night is not to be missed. My mother rewired the telephone the other day, poking through the wall and tugging out the wires one by one to patiently figure out where they go and put it back together new again. The house has old wiring; I'm not saying I'm buying copper wire and reading up on DIY Rewire Your Entire House For Electricity and Add a Networking Option for the Wii and P3 With Speakers In Every Room. I'm saying I'm pricing it. And hey, it's on sale! Sure, it could end in tragedy, but then again, I have duct tape, , twist-ties, a Magical Adapter, and my screwdrivers. It could also work.

I have a question, though--is there a cleaner that can be used to get melted rubber off of blankets? I could really use the advice.

I have a question, though--is there a cleaner that can be used to get melted rubber off of blankets?

Even though I read the reasoning for this question earlier - melted laptop case - this question sounds more like it's related to some bondage gone wrong.

My mind needs a good scrubbing...or sleep.

Melted coating on the adapter cord, but...

this question sounds more like it's related to some bondage gone wrong.

*falls over, then scans entry* Come to think, it kind of does.

blinks at you

You're writing this as if it's something strange. I don't see anything odd about it at all.

is there a cleaner that can be used to get melted rubber off of blankets? I could really use the advice.

It depends on the rubber and the type of blanket. Generally, an ice cube applied to the rubber to render it completely frozen then using a razor blade to cut it off the blanket -- carefully -- will do the trick. It's like cutting 'pills' off sweaters.

There's also the commercial product called Goof-Off, but that's really for things that are far less delicate than blankets. Good luck. Oh! You might also try Heloise's website. She's got awesome advice for stuff like that.

It's not a delicate blanket or anything, so Goof-Off might work. Thank you!

Have you considered taking up circuit bending? All the soldering, altering-of-(battery-run)-electronics fun with an added bonus of children's toys making weird, creepy sounds. It's totally kid-friendly, really easy, and super adaptable.

I have my sister's sautering kit, but she took the power out of it, which I suppose is a message?

*clicks* Ooooooh. Ooh I like this! Thanks!

I love you so much. There are no words for how much I love you. I totally want you as my new mother, are you taking daughter applications?

(Two years ago I got brave enough to build a new desktop from bits. The world changed. Angels sung. Swear to God. It's SO FUN)

I AM SO ENVIOUS. I want to, but laptop build-from-scratch hasn't caught up with PCs. OMG IT MUST HAVE BEEN AMAZING.

*so envious*

you know, I don't comment all that often, but I really wanted you to know that when you post things like this? I am SOOO glad you're my friend. This time out, it's the little screwdrivers and that you can get electrical ones at Radio Shack that made me smile.

(also, this is not weird, this thing with you and electronics. in my world? this is considered normal. really.)

*cuddles things that could blow up* I so should have been a nuclear scientist or an electrical engineer.

You totally need to download all the seasons of Holmes on Homes. You'd love it.

I read your entry about it! My dad was a contractor and drywaller--I've retained just enough to have vague panicky feelings of not quite right without any clear idea of what is wrong and work myself into a fit of jitters.

And yet, I am tempted.

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OH MY GOD. I WANT TO TRY THAT. Cutting glass!

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Whoa, that's pretty awesome. 8D

*g* I'm not like, competent at it? But seriously, I don't even care--it's just that much fun.

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I did not fry my computer, but there was the melting rubbery-stuff-thing and the quickly-heating-to-disturbing-oven-like-temperatures-thing of the adapter.

And yet, I am keeping all my broken adapters just in case.

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One day, your tombstone will read: "Here lies seperies, died from a disgruntled router. It didn't want to be anal=probed."

Your madness is terribly amusing. You suffer from the same thing my father did. He just wanted to prod and poke at everything.

Could be worse. My router might have liked it. That would take my relationship with electricity to a profoundly uncomfortable place.

*eyes box with routers suspiciously*

This post made me grin :D

Do you like Doctor Who at all? I'm reminded of this fic: http://community.livejournal.com/libraryofsol/69416.html#cutid1

"Her big time lord brain keeps sneaking through despite the mindwipe. Donna develops a knack for fixing electronics and inadvertently makes a time travel device/teleport/intergalactic telephone out of kitchen appliances."

BTW, love your icon, and am still squeeing over how much fun "Suppose It's Too Much to Call Coincidence" is.

I have two large external drive, one in the freezer because the internal power went out

And why does that mean it gets put in the freezer??? I ask because I have to remove a brand-new replacement harddrive from my Tivo (its tuner broke a few months after I replaced the old harddrive and tuners can't be fixed), so now I'm wondering what might be the best way to store this harddrive until I can figure out what I want to do with it. Any info would be appreciated.

It compresses the interior in case you want to try and hook it up and use a small amount of power saved by freezing to try and get what you need off it. I was originally going ot do that, but it's been like, almost two years.

Ah ha ha ha!

Okay, in all that, somehow it was the lipsticks that completely cracked me up.

Please don't electromocute yourself.

I have this lipstick--thing. I do'nt use it very often, so when I buy one, I promptly lose it once the occasion to buy it is over. So there's probably a ton of lipstick just packed away in boxes or at the bottom of suitcases. You would not believe hte hideous pink I must have once thought was acceptable in public.

I adore you. (And somewhat fear you. but mostly adore.)