Evil eye

Today I walked back from the uni at a slow pace with my termo under my arm and the path led me to the corner of 3 and 67 where there’s a kiosk.

It’s run by a friend of mine, we attended to school together. We chatted for a while and then an old woman, queer mixture of a Gypsy and La Nona made her way inside and started to empty her bag.

She tried to sell us some flowers made of what looked like papier-mâché, asking $150 for each one. We refused and I politely tried to help her anyways with what I had on my wallet (a bit less than $50).

That moment she transformed and with an elevated and angry tone accused us of having that amount of money and not wanting to buy, which was completely true, as I had no use for such an item.

We argued back and forth for a while until she said now with a darker and more calm voice, “you are evil, evil persons”, gave us a deep stare and disappeared on the street.

Reduce, Reuse Recycle summary December 2017 – January 2018

(Sounds nicer than saying dumpster diving eh?)

We can learn a lot about a society just from looking what we throw away (see Garbology).

When I lived in Berisso it was really odd to see on the curb something that worked or was fixable.

Here in La Plata and without even trying I stumble upon stuff that is just a little bit broken if not working (albeit a tad old).

This last two months among other things I picked up with my bike basket:

  • A vacuum cleaner, complete with hoses. Only needed a carbon brush replacement.
  • Home audio amplifier. The cd tray is stuck but we feed it from the line in. A bit heavy but very nice sound.
  • Mantle top fan. Works fine as a fan but the pivoting mechanism is acting up. Just needed a thorough cleaning.
  • Leather briefcase. Sold in less than a day as a theater prop.
  • Wooden wine rack. Works fine for other beverages too.

This is not exactly dumpster diving but I also helped the widow of a neighbor silent key to clean up his shop.
Out of the deal I got:

  • Two 100Mbps rackable switches. They work but at that speed I only want them for the chassis and supplies
  • An antique lamp. Already restoring it.
  • A Commodore 1541 dirve and some original CompuServe disks. On their way to a museum.
  • A very old (when telegraphs were the norm) glass insulator and threaded pole made of hardwood. Has the right volume to make a shot glass.
  • A modern medium voltage insulator. It’s quite heavy but in nice condition. I’ll probably make a lamp out of it.
  • Lots of heatsinks and coolers.
  • Old cans of candy and medicines. They don’t have a high monetary value but are collectible and can be traded for something else.

Tooling up

Since I moved back to my childhood neighborhood I reconnected with a lot of people that were part of my developing years and imprinted many memories that I still recall fondly to this day.

One of them is a very nice old man, a bit younger than what my grandfather would be were he be still alive. From time to time I help him with the daily errands and every other week we share a simple lunch. He used to run a hardware store that marveled me every time I went (when I was a child I could be impressed with simple things. Thankfully, now I still do).

Nowadays the store is run by his sons. He comes anyways, sits on a corner drinking mate and welcomes the patrons. Besides knowing almost everyone around he’s also versed in almost any trade I can think of and that skill is quite useful, as many times people come without knowing what they need or how to fix something.

I visited him for new year’s eve and between a glass of wine he said come to the shop once the holiday craze fades, I have something for you.

A couple of days later I go to the store and without a word he carries me to the back into a room I never visited before.

This are all the returned items that we can not send for repair. Some customers are worth keeping and so we just give them a new machine instead of washing our hands because the manufacturer would not take them. Pick what you want, we’ll talk business later .

I got this out of the deal at a very discounted price:

  • A combo tig/stick welder plus plasma cutting with all the standard accessories and an auto darkening mask.
  • A drill press.
  • A miter saw.
  • Small air compressor.

Besides that he sold me safety gear, consumables and a couple of other things like magnetic squares and pressure clamps, air hoses with quick disconnects, a paint gun and a spraying one.

You don’t look at a gifted horse in the mouth but given that these were rejects I had to.

The welder was only banged a couple of times on one side and had some loose connectors. After fixing that it worked flawlessly. It came with all the torches, water tramp and pressure regulator and spares.

The compressor is way loud and one of the connections between the reservoir tanks and the regulator has a leak, I can see oil (or moisture?) bubbling when it’s running. It’s not a big deal and while the fix is easy it involves fumbling with very delicate tubing and I know from experience that a bit too much of torque can easily wreck them. Also it’s not very ergonomic, the handle has sharp edges and if I’m supposed to use it to move it around I have to crouch. As it is not very heavy I just lift it whenever I need to move.

The drill had less than the barely minimum grease on the table lift column (none) but surprisingly the chuck turned smoothly after loosening the belts. However the quill felt strange, like it was scratching something inside, and also the spring was harder than I’d like to. To dismantle it only needed a single screw to be removed and when it was out I swept the innards with a cloth and it came back with what looked like metal (or very thick paint) flakes. After making sure that none of that remained I applied a very generous amount of grease and put it back together.

Runs quite fine but the table has a bit of flex, nothing that a brace wouldn’t fix.

I don’t know what’s wrong with the miter saw. The stock abrasive disk is very soft and flexes, so making square cuts is a difficult task, and it really needs to be bolted on something hard, otherwise the frame tends to distort when applying pressure to the vise (just the necessary to keep things in place, seems like a production defect).

All of this came just in time, as I’m doing a couple of renovations on my parent’s house. (The neighbors are not exactly thrilled, as all of these tools make quite a bit of noise).

Cultural differences

Sunday was a very nice day among friends and partners of our neighborhood.

Instead of finishing a draft post about that I’m sad. I spent most of this Monday listening to our representatives going around circles instead of voting, while some of my friends were treated like terrorists, being searched by masked officers at gun point, others punched and kicked.

I listened to the live stream for about ten hours before the sleep took over. Most of the ‘normal’ people I met yesterday chose to ignore this and watch crap tv. Meanwhile in Japan they have entertainment shows like Supreme Skills where they pit engineers and craftsmen to see which one is able to complete very demanding projects. Some of them are very light on the details but nonetheless the content is still better than other productions and showcases a complete different scale of values.

On weekends most of us choose to numb our minds with meaningless stuff. Others enlighten themselves.

No wonder things go downhill.

Birthday

This 30th birthday is way better than the last one.

Near the end, when we were almost finishing packing up a police car appeared. They said someone made a complaint about noises and that we should turn it down.

By then, after a very loud party on the street, there was just a small powered speaker, so we just unplugged it. They walked away, tail between their legs, but before that took all my personal data just in case.

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Kubero Díaz

Las night I had the privilege of meeting Kubero Díaz, a legend of argentinian music.

It’s refreshing seeing someone so great being so natural and friendly, without airs of big star. He talked a lot about his adventures with Jorge Pinchevsky in Europe and played many songs for us with the same energy he had on his youth.

I bought his last work, a magnificent cd with a beautiful crafted artwork, and he had the generosity of signing it.

Reboot.

So this happened.

I’m again at this time of the year where I need something to pull me back into sanity. I rented a car and headed to La Falda for a week of biking, nature and relax. (I was going to participate on the Endurance Race but it was cancelled due to weather conditions)

The first day I took Ruta 6 and then Ruta 9, stopping at Villa María for a nap. During the day Ruta 6 is mostly empty and even though it’s a longer ride the time saved by avoiding Capital Federal more than makes up to it.

I slept at Hostel Girando and then very early the next day resumed the trip to La Falda.

The morning was very foggy and chilly. I had to stop at a side of the route for a while as I could barely see the front of the car. After that the temperature rose giving place to a wonderful day, and I took off most of my clothes.

I checked in at the hotel and went for a walk. My head and back where killing me and I needed to stretch, drink plenty of water and breath fresh. I like driving but this one hurted me really bad.

Thanks

There was this old lady at our club that used to calm discussions with this adage:

If you don’t have anything nice to say, just don’t. Unless it’s important.

She was very very quiet.

I have more than enough ranting material but, on the other arm of the scale I have this that makes me feel warm inside and takes away all the pain.

A while ago one of my Best Friends published his first album, Clusterobvia.

We were long out of touch despite living near and one Thursday tagged along for tea and snacks with a mutual Best Friend to catch up (quite a bizarre triangle).
He brought two copies and we discovered that our names appear on the credits with words so nice and heartwarming beyond description.

It’s so wonderful seeing the dreams of a close friend come true. I’m very guilty of keeping feelings to myself and so when reading the booklet there was such a revelation of how much we value each other.

Thanks.

From busted magnetron to incense holder.

It’s been a while since I made something nice.

A couple of weeks ago I spotted a neighbour taking a microwave to the curb and brought it home with me, as they are always full of useful bits. This one was not very old but of a very simple construction. It has a mechanical timer that makes a lovely ‘ding’ when finished. It also went through a bit of hard love.

Cavity magnetrons are very cool devices. Besides providing a couple of strong magnets and aluminum plates they are made of a very pure copper allow with interesting shapes.

From time to time I like to burn some lignum vitae and upon opening this one I knew what to make of it. I chucked it on the drill press, gave it several passes of wet sandpaper and then a cloth with polishing compound. It took quite a good shine but the handling with greasy hands is giving it a light patina. The holes are filled with glow in the dark paint. I haven’t managed yet to capture the effect but they look quite good at night (and also with uv light).

I left the rest without a final polish, partly as a testament of its origins and also because probably I’ll make a cherry wood stand for it.

Ayer me olvidé una zapatilla en tu casa…

… no sé qué pasa .

Most of the times I sleep at someone else’s place I forget something, like a sock or a handkerchief. Some do that on purpose to have an excuse for coming back but I’m a different kind of creep. I’m just Clumsy.

Last weekend I forgot an Ankh Cross.

It’s been a while since I had time to make something, take pictures and write about it so I’ll just post some old ones from the making of said cross. The rest can be found at flickr.

Ankh made out of scrap aluminum from a hard disk

Title courtesy of Mostruo! – Tu culpa