Brett Rants

Then & Now

I am falling into The Black Pit, whatever that means. And as part of my preparation for the journey (and/or to insure I don't come back), I am lightening my load (call it Burning a Bit of Karma, if one wishes to be pretentious). Which in this particular instance means jettisoning a few photographs from a time gone by. Don't ask me to explain further than that. The past no longer calls, but I find it difficult not to check the answering machine every once in a while, nonetheless.

There are those (Sweet Girl that she is) who will read more into the preceding than need be. So suffice to say, a page like this requires some sort of conceptual introduction to provide at least a hint as to what's going on; and the foregoing bit of incoherent text is what I came up with.

Chocolate Horde

If one looks carefully at the picture (not enclosed and subsequently deleted forever, which is entirely the point of this page), one will count eleven 8oz Canisters of Cocoa Powder utilized (in days gone by) in the making of my morning Hot Chocolate. My current horde consists of six (count them) Pound Plus Bars (so, about the same amount) and a small smattering of snack size bars (all high cocoa concentration selections). So, you know what they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Also on the shelf {in the image, so this is past tense}, I note Powdered Fiber (I no longer use), a selection of nuts (I'm a bit nuts), Sweetened Condensed Milk (I'm going Paleo, whatever that means {thus, in the parenthesis, here, I am providing a bit of the now, the then being the unseen image}), some Water Bottles (use, reuse, and reuse some more, that's my motto), Spiked Mango (I forget the name of the spice used to flavour this near candy {a reddish orange powder}), a Drinking Glass (so, this was my cabinet in the kitchen where I could stash my stuff, including a Drinking Glass I'd use for days on end between washings), and a few other things that I always figured the AI would find interesting if I actually ever posted the image... like a fast food container (snap top 1oz size) of Red Pepper Flakes, what I assume is a Cannister of Sweetened Cocoa Mix (so, the sickly sweet kind), a Jar of Sugar, and a box of what I am going to assume is Corn Starch (and/or Chinese Style Pudding Starter).

It's really not that interesting... or maybe it is. Either way, that is what this page is going to be like: TMI (Too Much Information) or not enough.

{picture deleted... gone forever}

Medicine Cabinet

Let us assume the preceding image and this one were taken circa 2007. Back then, I kept my Eye Drops in the medicine cabinet (which is what this image focuses upon) along with a Hair Filled Comb (I no longer even bother with a comb; my fingers work just fine; but at the time, I took a perverse joy in seeing how dirty I could get that sucker, cleaning my Comb maybe once a month), Acne Medicine (again something I no longer bother with, only getting an annoying zit {as opposed to the other kind} maybe once every month or two), a Dropper Full of Alcohol (to prevent Swimmer's Ear, but cleaning out the wax was the real solution), an Electric Toothbrush (I use a more industrial strength model these days), Deodorant (for some reason, a bottle seems to last a year these days; I don't know why exactly; probably because I hardly ever use the stuff anymore), Wart Remover (which in this particular instance, I was likely using to remove some out of control scar tissue), Sun Block (hey, guess where the photo was taken), and a Disposable Razor (which sort of surprises me, as I'd thought I'd gone to electric razors a long time ago).

There's, also, a big bottle of Alcohol stuck in the corner (maybe) and that ever popular Mystery Bottle (which probably did not contain hand lotion {as it's the wrong type of bottle} or vitamins {as I don't think I'd gotten on that kick yet}).

And those are the two images {now deleted} which inspired this page. Let's see if I can find anymore. I've got a hunch that I can.

But in the meantime, let me wonder how I will punctuate commentary that originates after the images have been deleted and are no longer available for reference. Square Brackets? Indented Italic Asides? Who knows? {And at this point, who really cares?}

{This is about where (so, exactly where), I took two months off the project, working on other things or not working at all. The main reason for such a notice is to smooth out any discontinuities that may arise between the foregoing and the following. The idea is (was) to look at a picture, note what's there and what's different (these days), and delete said picture... or so, I presume. And if not, well, that's what's going to happen, now... sort of.}

Memory Lane

The next two images (which I will condense into the one entry) pertain to mementos. Eh, let's start with the more important grouping.

I used to go to The Flea Market on Saturday and Sunday (most every weekend). It was a great Flea Market. And if I still lived nearby, I still might go... on occasion. I guess the last time I lived in the area, I went infrequently, at best. But at one time, The Flea Market constituted a highlight of my weekend... probably the highlight. In short, I bought a lot of stuff there... almost all of which I no longer own, having thrown it away or donated it to one thrift store or another.

Any-The-Way, one of the finds from that Flea Market that I still have is a wonderful Peacock Emblazoned Dual Card-Deck Holder made out of wood... probably, pine. The ink stamp on the bottom says it was made in Poland. I paid $2 for it, if I remember correctly. And it is awesome. The birds (maybe partridges, who really knows) are carved and outlined with wire. So, it's cool. And it is where I store my mementos. Though, at the time, I was also using some random metal tin, tying the lot with a length of sheet rope (a bit of thick twine made from sheets), whose purpose or provenance I can no longer remember. {And as I think about it further, I believe the Sheet Rope was kept inside the box as another memento, likely of having made a Full-Scale Rope out of Sheets.}

I have been going on a killing spree with my mementos, as of late. So, although I started last year with most of the trinkets shown in the photo (from 2011, ten years ago, the picture, it is), I've ditched half of the items and will not detail the remainder, as the important items have been mentioned elsewhere.

So, what else is in in the photograph worth mentioning?

Pipe-Cleaner LeeZards (my friends, or Freds, if you prefer) currently hanging from the floor lamp to my right), a Disposable Knife (long since gone, probably made from potato-starch plastic), numerous Bottle Caps (the hoarding of which never quite took), Altoids Containers (these used to be a thing), a Pencil (who cares), Lottery Ticket (custom made, as a clerk once gifted me the end of the roll), and wow, are those Plastic Screw-On Bottle Caps (I really was saving a bunch of crap).

There's also a plastic miniature LeeZard. But as this one (a he) looks nothing like a LeeZard (also, he's), it's more like a Friendly Gator.

And lastly, a pair of Camera SD Memory Cards. So, this really was working storage, as well {the image being taken prior to a vacation, as part of insurance documentation or the like}.

I come and go {Wax & Wane might be the more appropriate expression} with my Material Possessions. But judging by the Bottle Caps, I was much more into such things at the time than I am now.

And lastly-lastly (I really mean it this time), there's a small pliable plastic lizard, which carries on The Leezard Theme nicely and probably would make a decent fishing lure... you know, like one of those jelly worms.
"Fishing Lure!"
"Fishing Lure!"
"Da first ting he tink of is da Fishing Lure!"
"It be da outrageous!"

And so on...
And since I already said lastly-lastly, I will not deign to mention The Fortune-Cookie Fortunes, which one (meaning, I) can only wonder why I was keeping them in the first place.


I could be wrong, but I think (maybe), one of the tins {of the two Altoid Tins mentioned previously, one regular size, one mini} probably contained Shirt Buttons. I was collecting those at the time.
"Um, hey der Misters."
"Yous a gonna get rid of dose buttons?"
"Maybe yous keeps."
"Best to keepers."
"LeeZard maybe keepers."
"Dey be da safers with Fred."
Eh, that really doesn't tell you much about now. But that's because the modern equivalent doesn't much exist (or has remained the same), so there's not that much to contrast it with.

I'll try to do better in the next section.

The Loft

The Loft (did I always call it The Loft) was a fairly cool apartment that I rented for a few years. It was small, real small. But it had a loft {an interior second story that overlooked the first}, so that was pretty cool. It also had a fireplace, which I never used except to burn a few candles in it once or twice, due to the mess (and fire hazard). I preferred Christmas Lights. I had a Watercolour of a Sunset (a Flea Market find); in front of which, I placed a few dozen flashing branches to form a sort of topiary (assuming topiary is the right word). It looked cool. And for the most, this was my Night Light.

Anyway, the next six pictures concern The Loft.

KITCHEN (and under the stairway): Luggage, Metal Shelves (I like those), Good Shoes (sometimes they are worth it), and Jacket (wet weather gear, complete with hat).

Hey, here's a tidbit. This was the place were I went the most gung-ho with Hats. I had one that made me look like Indiana Jones (the spitting image, I kid you not) and another that made me look like Old Jed from The Beverly Hillbillies.

I was moving in at the time the first picture was taken and paper grocery bags constituted a meaningful storage system.

UPSTAIRS: I got myself a nice Memory Foam Twin Bed Mattress, which I can heartily recommend. It sat on the floor (no box-spring), which worked just fine. I'd say I have a box-spring, now, but I question how much I really want to do that whole compare/contrast thing. So, I am really just going to let come what may.

I like my Pillows and Blankets piled high (much more than I have at present) and another one of those Metal Shelving units holds my belongings in the most utilitarian way possible. Later, I would go crazy with the shelves {A Bolt-To-Wall Modular System}. Man, I loved those shelves. And my current abode would likely be covered with them, as well, if the first couple of screws I sank hadn't busted off, hitting metal or something. But what are you going to do? Different Places. Different Times. Different Needs.

The clothes in the closet include my Green Jungle LeeZard Hawaiian style shirt. The LeeZards helped me pick it out. It was likely the first item of clothing they ever helped me buy and was instrumental in my Wearing Green For A Year, which sometimes devolved into simply wearing Green Underwear or Green Socks, but usually meant a Green Shirt, T-Shirt, or Pants. Yep, I had a couple pairs of Green Pants.

A Bag of Cat Litter (Pine Chips) holds my Standing Desktop steady. I currently write at a Standing Desktop and can (once again) heartily recommend them.

STAND UP DESK: I think this will be the last image I cover today. So if you sense another disconnect, good on you; that's why.

The image at hand {since deleted} is a move-in shot (within the first few months), as my second computer (the hot one, the one connected to the Internet) rests on-top of the Fireplace, next to a behemoth of a Fax Machine. This was my Home Office and Faxes were a critical part of my work. The sucker (Copy, Print, Scan, & Fax) set the company back $200 {mabye, $300} and was worth every penny.

The Fireplace shows in this image. It is soon to be covered by (i.e. hidden by) a Flat-Screen TV. Under the desk is a Battery Backup, which I no longer bother with, favouring laptops (and their built-in batteries) over desktop units, these days.

It really is amazing how much crap is scattered about that desk. Heck, I'll list it: Monitor (tied down with cord and clamps, as it is poised over the drop, giving me a wonderful view when not at work into the open area below), Stack of Work Papers (or so I will claim, projects ongoing), Index Cards (part of my organizational system), Calculator (a Spreadsheet is better, but I still use the calculator on my phone from time to time), Miscellaneous (who really knows, I filled the space), Cigar Box (bought in town, likely holding checks, pencils, and the like), Spiral Notebook (for phone calls, mostly, but later, I would switch to text files), Black Cigar Box (the contents a mystery), yet another box (who really knows), Product Samples, Personal Files (Bills, Receipts, and so on), Business Files (looks mostly like Catalogs and Reference Works), and from there we have the Computer (the main box) on the Ground and the lot secured by a Bag of Cat Litter, which could grow to be as many as three or four, depending upon the need (for storage). And that's what was on my Stand Up Desk.

Now, I've got my Laptop, a few Mouse Pads, a Stack of Books to hold the Monitor (up in the air at eye level), Glasses (I use Near, Far, and Midrange Glasses, these days, the Midrange being the default), Dead Headphones (technically, they work; but the real working pair is stored elsewhere), Keys (Mailbox & Lobby, the Front Door Key is in my pocket), and a few Thumb Drives, all of which may sound like a lot, but the Books are dead weight and they constitute the material bulk. On the shelves underneath, I have a Black & White Printer (I have no need for color), my Roving Laptop (the one that hits The Internet, safely stowed away as I write this on another), a Raspberry Pi Kit (which I bought two or three years ago, but have yet to open... and likely never will), My Phones (there are two, but only one with service, a number which I expect soon enough will be reduced to none), and a few Balls and such (including other Hand Items, such as a trio of Dried Chestnuts; the later of which I am lying about, as when I looked to confirm their presence, I could not find them; I'm sure they're in a drawer somewhere). I suppose the current list contains as many items as the previous. But whereas the previous list consisted mostly of stacks, boxes, and collections, I am now listing individual items.

Ha! That Friendly Gator (that I mentioned up top, under the Memory Lane heading) is standing on The Old Desk. And at the time, I had a truly incredible Stapler. But the last thing I stapled was my Taxes and I'm pretty sure that will, also, be the next thing I staple.

STAND-UP DESK HIGHLIGHT (Top Shelf): This should be quick.

{If you'll remember, this picture is from times past.}

Anyway, on the Top Shelf of The Loft's Stand-Up Desk I had: Receipts (I've had multiple procedures for processing my personal receipts, going so far as to convert scans into text and munging that to extract the correct data to input {via a Python Script} into a spreadsheet; but now, I just avoid using credit cards; it's that much easier), Thumb Drive (a few of them, I like having multiple copies), Pencil (something I hardly ever use these days), Index Cards (once again, another Organization System I no longer use), Calculator (a TI-83, the TI-92 was world's better, but not as convenient to use, stow, or carry), Scissors (small and sharp; I must have bought these new; I remember them fondly), Battery Charger (for AA's, probably for the Camera I had at the time), Batteries, SD Card, Another Charger, Laser Light (this was a Light Saber Cereal Light Give-Away (partially deconstructed: i.e. taken apart), Flashing Button (a Ramen Noodle Give-Away), Two Coins (the provenance of which I can no longer remember).

BIG MIRROR: Now, I miss this. The picture is just a reflection of myself (blurry to the max) as seen in this 7'0"x4'0" Wood Framed Mirror (all sizes approximate, but large enough I could see my head, face, and feet while standing right next to it). It was a great mirror {yes, it was}. And I liked it enough {to sing its praises years later}. But not enough to pay for its Shipping → Storage → Shipping → Shipping → Shipping, if you know what I mean. On top of that, The Mirror took-up a lot of dedicated floor space. So, it was good at filling-up an empty apartment. But I imagine it would be more of a liability in the current one. And there really is no way I was going to carry it anywhere, ever.

There's also a nice Dining Room Table in the picture, along with a Plant, Books, and a Sitting Desk. But as those weren't mine, they hardly matter at this remove.

I am wearing my Jed Clampett Hat (Battered White Straw), Shorts (Black Cargo), Blue Hawaiian Shirt (with Sail-Boat Motif), and White Sneakers (as cheap as they come).

{And although there are a few more Images (that I was expecting to cover), they are fairly current. Thus (I can only surmise), that was (partially) where the Then & Now was going to come from.

Anyway, it gets to be a drag to read long walls of text, let alone proofread them. Thus, I will end this page here and plan on following it up with another Then & Now post somewhere down the line in the not too distant future.}

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It's hard not to amass stuff; even now, I do. But it's, also, getting a lot easier to forgo the pleasure, as I seem quite capable of making do with almost nothing, which in America tends to mean a Treasure Trove of Material Abundance... the better to destroy the planet with the accumulation thereof, my dear.

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