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Erector Set Plane

erector set plane meccano constructionSaturday night, instead of going to a birthday party with friends, I stayed home sick and built an Erector set.  I’d never built one before, but received one as a gift last Christmas & didn’t crack it open until last night.  It was fun and not terribly difficult to build.

Invented 100 years ago, Erector sets use nuts, bolts, pulleys, and gears and I had the option of building 4 or 5 different things (that’s why I had extra parts left over).  I’ve seen some cool antique Erector sets at antique shops & almost picked one up once. I may do it yet.

For a long time I’d wanted to build one like the legions of children through the years.  It’s cool to think of this old cultural bit of playtime that included inventive and industrial components.  At least when I built mine, I was away from the tv and internet for a bit, so I do have some degree of self-control and completion.  Even though it looks like Frankenstein’s airplane, it’s swell and I’ll have to build another set soon.

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17 Types of Bachelor Pads

by Jonathan Bonobo Perry

ABC has a new cheesetastic reality tv show called The Bachelor Pad which seems like it might combine The Bachelor with Big Brother and The Real World after they’ve soaked in a briny vat of The Girls Next Door.  It promises an abnormally good-looking and freakishly healthy cast of cast-offs from previous reality shows being overly-dramatic and dramatically-amorous in a fine and expensive model home.  Pray, what will this bachelor pad be like?  Certainly it has everything.  Entertainment, games, and watery places, perhaps 7 hot tubs (so a few could be decontaminated simultaneously).  This got me thinking about types of Bachelor Pads as theme parks for men or rather types of homes for types of bachelors. What if guys were only one-dimensional and could each be pigeonholed into one tidy category?  Here’s who 17 of those guys would be and how their bachelor pads would be set up to reflect the weirdness.

1 Lothario/Lech Pad-Round spinning bed, cocktail bar, fancy lighting, a fine collection of loungy mood music.  It would be like the digs for Quagmire from Family Guy or for Austin Powers, replete with bathrobes and smoking jackets and lots of velvet.  A hot tub.  This is usually the first picture that comes to mind when one thinks of the classic bachelor pad.  It’s a lie.  Mostly.

2 Gamer Pad-Comfy chair for all that sitting.  Probably plush.  A couple gaming systems (XBox, Nintendo, Playstation, Wii) backed up by a quality entertainment system.  Dice and game parts for various role playing games.  Occupant-pasty sleepy nerd. 

3 Partier Pad-A sufficient supply of food and beverages and, if lucky, easily cleaned surfaces.  Large tv and other entertainment devices:  good stereo, lots of music, the gamer’s gaming system, some board games and backyard games.  Possibly a jacuzzi and a grill in the awesome backyard.  There might be a firepit.  Tiki torches?

4 Handyman Pad-Handmade furniture or carvings.  An extensive collection of tools and parts.  A fine workbench in the garage.  Powerdrill always plugged into the wall.  Multiple projects at different stages of completion spread about the garage and house.  Possibly a classic car parked in the garage being restored.

5 Traveler Pad-Travel books, posters, and paintings.  Souvenirs and maps.  Photo albums of trips.  Several suitcases, bags & perhaps an enormous travel cases like Jimmy Stewart‘s from It’s A Wonderful Life.

6 Collector Pad-The house may be overrun and/or decorated by strange collections:  stamps, baseball cards, license plates, Coca-Cola memorabilia.  Butterflies.  Places to store and display all this stuff have been set aside. The Antique-r is a sub-specialist of collector. Or is it the other way around?

7 Gadget Dude Pad-Assorted collection of the latest and greatest gadgets both electronic and mechanical.  Not only does he have the latest ostentatious Apple product (iPhone, iPad, iTouch), he also has camcorders, ereaders, robots, roombas, gps’s.

8 Reader Pad-Several bookcases, maybe some built-ins for a large a well-organized library (possibly numbered books, as if it were a real library).  There might be a list of books lent out and who has them and why you’ll never get them back.  (Chris?  Marshall?).  If he’s gone gadgety, there might be an Amazon Kindle or a similar ereader.

9 Sports Fan Pad-There will be lots of sports memorabilia, some of it plastered to the walls.  Maybe jerseys of the home team.  There could be game highlight footage on DVD.  There might even be sports cards, but certainly sports magazines.

10 Movie and TV-Buff Pad-Huge TV entertainment system with surround sound.  Lots of DVDs.  Lots of VHS tapes with the player.  Possibly a Beta player and Beta tapes for some rare ancient weirdness.

11 Musician Pad-Instruments.  The pinnacle is a grand piano or a specialty guitar signed by some dead rock legend.  Recording equipment.  A fine hi-fi system that spans the years from phonograph to 8-track to cassette to cd to mp3 player.  There will be plenty of albums to play on this system.  There might be busts of musicians and sheets of music.  Perhaps rooms have been modified to adjust acoustics.

12 Fitness Enthusiast Pad-In this pad might be found a bicycle and helmet.  If he’s a daredevil he might have mountain-climbing equipment, otherwise regular (and strange) exercise devices: dumb bells, stationary bike, treadmill, elliptical, medicine ball.  He might have his own awards from previous sporty endeavors.

13 Animal Lover Pad-Aquariums, terrariums, cages and kennels.  Leashes and bowls on the floor.  Adorable creatures that want to eat and bite you and need to use the facilities which may or may not be in your house.  Animal hair everywhere.  Unsolved allergy issues.  Hello Kitty stationery?  Maybe that’s just a sub-genre.

14 Hoarder Pad-this comes from mixing too many of the other categories together and having certain psychological issues.

15 Artist/Photographer Pad-Paints and brushes.  Easels and canvas and frames.  Cameras and camera equipment.  Maybe a dark room for old film.  Some of his own work might be framed on the wall as well as his inspirations’ works.  Art supplies and works are spread all over the house.

16 Gardener/Plant Guy Pad-Much of this guy’s stuff would be in the backyard: Veggie garden, flowers, other odd plants.  Sometimes the greenery will come inside and there will be pots of living greenstuff (non-mold) around the house.  There might be books and magazines for gardening ideas and tips.

17 Chef/Cook Pad-This dude has a kitchen full of quality cooking equipment.  Pots and pans and skillets or whatever.  There will be odd measuring devices which might use the metric system or stuff like pinch or smidgen.  He’ll have lots of spices and fancy oils.  The cupboards and fridge are stocked with all kinds of food.

Certainly your type has been overlooked.  That just means you’re weird.

The secret word is pigeonhole

Related Reading:

How NOT To Decorate The Bachelor Pad

My Bachelor Pad

Bachelor Step #10: Collect the Right Toys

Bachelor Step #1: THE BACHELOR PAD

$15 Million Ultimate Bachelor Pad

Tenuously Related Reading:

Google-Stalking The Ex

Logan’s Run & Population Control

World Of Warcraft…Dating?

Bachelors In History

Sound Of Music Death Match!!! Liesl v Maria

Kitten Of Evil

Celebrity Crushes: The Girl Next Door

Which Is Your Type? A Pseudo-Cosmo Quiz

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Domesticated Bachelor RESOLUTIONS For 2010

Happy New Year and junk! 2008 and 2009 were great years for me.  I made swell strides in personal improvement:  bought a house, changed jobs for the first time in 9 years, lost almost 40 pounds, finished writing a book, started this blog, and dated a few good-looking and fascinating (if unhappy) women.  2010 is promising and I hope to take a hearty chunk out of its hopeful offerings.  Here’s my (public) list of resolutions for the new year (the private list may or may not include shameful notions like ‘Online Dating’,  ‘Invisalign’, and job advancement.  Yes, the public list is shameful, too.).

  1. Get below 200 pounds for the first time since just after college (Allow for muscle tone & abs.  If there’s good muscle tone and a nice 6 pack, then just over 200 pounds is fine and not bad for a 6 footer built like a linebacker.  Or me.).   I could totally do it by summer.  Maybe.
  2. Get more sleep.  Unless I’m hanging out with attractive women until the wee hours, there’s no reason I should exhaust myself and make my brain dull and eyes red (though bloodshot brings out the blue in my eyes).  This may mean more hopeful cocktails of Melatonin & Tylenol PM.  Of course insomnia is insomnia.
  3. Save more and invest more.  $$ x $$= $$$$$$
  4. Be more confident & fearless.  Don’t care what people think (like the unhappy, uber-critical, pretty good-looking girl-woman I was sorta kinda not dating for 6 months who teased me a few times for not being manly enough.  Man, I miss her.).  Also, don’t overshare feelings, especially with uber-critical women.
  5. Be more manly & rugged.  (ok, yeah.  So I’d like to be a bit more dude-ish, but not in an obvious, obnoxious, pandering to the critics sort of way).  I’ll still listen to the Pet Shop Boys.
  6. Do one major home project:  new siding, update a bathroom or the kitchen (by ‘do’, I mean pay someone skilled to ‘do’ this project).
  7. Do 2 minor home projects:  trim, doorway casing, paint stuff.
  8. Plant at least one new tree on my property.  Front yard 1st.  Maybe a Birch or Japanese Maple.  Maybe both.  Also an evergreen.  That sounds like 3.
  9. Do some landscaping.  Flagstone walkway.  Sunken garden in the low corner of the backyard.  Junk like that.
  10. Learn a manly skill or 2, like wiring a new light fixture or building a built-in bookcase.  Or join a fantasy football league.  It shouldn’t be as exhausting as the daily fantasy baseball league I was in for 2 years.
  11. Do more cool adventurous sorts of things:  whitewater rafting, backpacking, large hill climbing, long trail hiking.  Canoeing the boundary waters (if there are showers).
  12. Be more sociable & less reclusive.  More Jay Gatsby, less Ted Kaczynski.  Also, make friends.
  13. Date more frequently & less stressfully.  More irons in the fire reduce the chance that a single iron will burn you.  Or something dumb.
  14. Finish writing one of the books I’ve been puttering around in.  I’ve been chipping away at 3 or 4 books, but get distracted easily.  One project has 22 pages of notes, but only 7 pages of written product.  What’s up with that?
  15. Resume writing music.  Finish some songs.  Maybe learn to use the Pro Tools recording software I bought in ’08 right before I bought the house.  (If ever tempted to write a song for a girl again, sleep on it a few days first and be sure it’s finished and not incredibly dorky.  Or containing dark humor.  Dangit.)
  16. Waste less time.  This includes spending less pointless time online or wasting too much time on wishy-washy women, however much you dig them and can’t get over them.
  17. If all else fails, follow the 11 Steps To Becoming A Domesticated Bachelor.

(Again, I am not actually a Domesticated Bachelor.  I just play one in my mind.)

What resolutions do you goats have for 2010?

Related Reading:

11 Steps To Becoming A Domesticated Bachelor

Unrelated Awesome Reads:

Google-Stalking The Ex

Logan’s Run & Population Control

Valentine’s Day Shame

World Of Warcraft…Dating?

Bachelors In History

Sound Of Music Death Match!!! Liesl v Maria

Kitten Of Evil

Celebrity Crushes: The Girl Next Door

Which Is Your Type? A Pseudo-Cosmo Quiz

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11 Steps To Becoming A Domesticated Bachelor: #10. Collect The Right Toys

antique-carby Jonathan B. Perry

A Domesticated Bachelor has plenty of swell toys that are both useful and/or attractive and possibly purchased through SkyMall.  These wondrous devices will serve to cram your home with shiny joy and blinky functionality, entertaining you and your bored guests for days, perhaps hours on end.  Certainly, filling your empty life with deep deep meaning.

1. Car– Of course, you must start off your acquisitions right by getting a shiny motor vehicle that suits your style and with which you can fashionably crash into a tree.  Nothing says domestication like a nicely totaled car.  Go and buy yourself a fine GPS for that stylishly crashed auto of yours so you can see which way you should have gone.  My car actually looks like an old man’s car, possibly one my grandparents might own, and my friend Darrin teases me about it, but it‘s really the nicest car I‘ve had.  Perhaps one day I‘ll get something sportier and more obnoxiously mid-life crisis like his.  Yeah, take that Darrin.

2. TV Stuff (Entertainment Center)– Build up your entertainment center with an expensive, yet breakable flat screen Hi-Def television, viewable from only one angle.  Get the surround sound system so you can freak out your cat with all the spastic directional sound.  Add a DVD and a TiVo for good measure.record-player2

3. Stereo– Find yourself a dandy stereo system (hi-fi) that works well with hearing aids so you can entertain your grandparents with Metallica or the Beastie Boys (your grandparents will be over a lot to borrow your car).  If it has an attachment for your iPod, you‘re golden.  Find a turntable for your parents’ old records and maybe get some of those classic Bossa Nova albums that really define the bachelor pad genre.  If you reach 8-track, you’ve gone too far.

4. Phone– Buy a Blackberry or an iPhone.  See if I care.  You’ll need to be able to text your mom hourly or have something to goof around with while on important business calls (and for driving into trees).  Upgrade these things regularly.

5. Games– Rock a sweet gaming system (Wii, Xbox, whatever the other one is called) or a billiard table so you can get nothing done ever into the wee hours.  Maybe find a fancy dart board and post a photo of your boss on it (my boss is great, so it’d be someone else’s boss).

6. Tools– It’s also important to acquire handyman equipment to decorate your garage impressively.  Nothing says ‘handyman’ like a full tool cabinet.  And it impresses the ladies.  Get your cutting, drilling, screwing, banging stuff ready for those workshop days that will never really happen because you‘re playing games and watching tv.

time-machineIf you have friends, which I have in the past, bring them over to use your gadgets.   Show off those doohickeys.  Drag out the time machine.  Change some college dating choices.  In this way you can also become influential in your group because your friends will develop techno-lust and see you as the gatekeeper to tech-Narnia or something.  They’ll seek you out for advice on such purchases and you may attain a certain guru status, just as my brother and his wife have for me with their endless knowledge and supply of mindless doodads.

Yes, the more useless stuff you own, the more hipster points you’ll gain and the more domesticated you’ll grow to be.  You may be poorer, but at least you‘ve done your part to support the fragile economy.  And that’s really giving back.  If nothing else, these items will keep you busy and ensure that you remain a bachelor for a good long time.

The secret word is hi-fi.

Related Reading:

#s 8 & 9. Proper Socialization/Throw Parties

#7. Master Something

#6. Be a Jack of All Trades

#5. Travel the World

#4. Learn to Cook

#3. Shape Up, Fatty

#2. The Right Wardrobe

#1. THE BACHELOR PAD

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Tree Pruner or Medieval Weapon?

treepruner2by Jonathan B. Perry

Saturday night I went into Ace Hardware to use my $5 birthday gift card before it expired (I’m on their mailing list).  I dragged my car the 3 minutes through the snow and ice with the single purpose of buying a tree pruner, one of those telescoping tree pruners for high spots in your tree that you can’t reach with the regular clippers.  Now, in December I actually climbed one of my trees to trim it, but that didn‘t feel so safe and I was a bit lightheaded after coming down.  I’m not the monkey I used to be.  Ace has 3 telescoping pruner models and even though there was a big price gap between the 8 foot and the 12 foot models, I went with the more expensive 12 foot pruner and can’t wait for it to warm up just a little so I can pretty-up my trees.

Taking my long pruner down from the display, it occurred to me how much this felt like a medieval weapon.  This was perhaps why I dawdled in the store a little longer, walking up and down the aisles, either feeling like a guard with a spear or a horseless jouster.  jousting2It was pretty excellent.  I even ran into an old friend who was shopping for a drill bit (I won’t say anything about tool size comparison).  The cashier asked a bit sarcastically if she could bag it up for me.  It felt great to finally get this excellent gardening tool-weapon to add to my arsenol of domestication.

I remember using the telescoping pruner on my grandparents’ property in CA over the years.  They had walnut trees, oaks, and eucalyptus, mostly.  They’ve since sold the grand old acreage, much to everyone’s great sadness, but I bet they still have their tree pruner.  They still have trees.  They still like tools.  They’re still alive.

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