Brett Rants

Then & Now

Then, Again!

Circa 2013, there was a massive fire on Mt Diablo, and these sixteen snapshots, merged together into a single 4wx4h montage are the images I snapped of said fire from the Park behind my Apartment... aka The Loft

This page concerns itself with the textural description of images (sight unseen, by the reader, at least), which were taken of where I was living (or staying) at the time. Thus (contextually), the above image is the odd man out. But it makes a sort of sense to include it, as the first deleted image was a similar montage-type mash-up of several still shots. However, that (or this) will be it for the first two images, as they did not feature My Abode (Then or Now); and because of that (and for other reasons), I can't be bothered to deconstruct them any further (their utility having come and gone, by the time of this remove).

Ah, such overly complex writing.

But wait!

There's more (overly complex and needlessly nested) writing to come!

Let's be honest.

This page is full of it.


This project is much like the preceding {project of the same name}. The only real difference is that the images are not quite as removed in time (as those referenced on the previous page), detailing (as they do) that which is not from very long ago (see, I told you, welcome to the world of needlessly complex sentence structures with nested asides). In fact, the rooms (detailed on pictures sight unseen) are very similar in nature to the very rooms in which I now stand, the rooms (at least) being exactly the same.

Kitchen Cabinets

The counters are less crowded (way back when). That's the first thing I notice: two bottles (of wine, vinegar, and such) back then versus nine bottles now. Also (these days, so expect no end of time-stamp qualifiers), there is a tray of coffee-ish materials, taking up entirely too much space. I can say this with some confidence (the undefined level of confidence being of the utmost variety), as there is only one person in this household (a minority of one out of two), who drinks coffee. But then, I lost that fight and no longer wish to enter the fray, having accepted a more limited counter-space, as a consequence.

In other news, the cabinets are (or really, were, as I am referring to the past tense cabinets in the photograph; and they are way) less crowded, as well (vis-a-vie the similar comparison I just made to the counter-tops, as they exist now).

So, here's a bit of trivia. When taking such pictures, I tend to open cupboards, doors, and such. So, I can see the contents. And there is simply less here (in the pictures of then versus the reality of now). There is less crowding, fewer glasses, less accumulations over time. The same is true of the spices and whatnot. All of which I am sure we will get to in a bit, as that is the sort of exciting stuff that this page is all about.
Stay tuned next week when the author describes his subjective moment-by-moment perception of the weather. Will the next tick of the clock bring heat, cold, or a windy draft. Only the future knows!
As I'm slowly going Keto (it's a lie; don't believe word one), there is less sugar in the pantry (now versus then, which may be the standard case; but as it's a day later and I can't remember, I don't have any reason to believe you can/will either). And I've reorganized the shelves differently.

Without a doubt, the excitement must be unbearable. And if I had a knife (dull butter) and if tension could ever be cut forthwith (by a knife suitable for buttering or spreading small quantities of jam), I am sure it could be cut this very moment by the same.


Try parsing that paragraph you AI Wanna Be's!
Hey, now!

{And here, I am changing the subject.}

That might be interesting!

{Please note the exclamation mark. A sure sign that the following idea truly is exciting.}

Cabinet Detail
Top to Bottom
Right to Left
Then (Now)
Plastic Wrap (Non-Keto Baking Supplies) - Glass Baking Dishes (was three, now at six) - Coffee Filters & Crock (the filters have found a new home on the Counter Tray; otherwise, it's the same: Crock & Overflow) - Long Term Unopened (contents differ; there are more opened containers, now) - Slowly Becoming My Corner (and it's totally mine now; it's where I put my Extra Toothpaste, All Mouthwash, and some of the Pure Sugar Chocolate I am working down) - Suckers & Sundries (The Sundries having taken over, the Suckers are with my Chocolate; I will get to that, momentarily: Clearly, a Tension Check is Indicated) - Glass Storage Containers (even more so now, additional sets having been added) - Oatmeal (Oatmeal & Broth) - Various Liquids (Syrups and Oils have partially given way to Canned Fish) - Sugar & Honey (Fake Sugar; so once the Honey is gone, I'll pay no attention to this particular shelf; I don't do Fake Sugar) - Major Mix (Spices are unseen and what remains has mostly been used up, replaced by more spices; what was consisted of Candles, Insect Repellent, and Hand Sanitizer; it was another corner of mine, slowly being ceded to Spices; eventually, all of the items in this area which are mine will flip up to The Toothpaste Area) - Glasses (the number of Coffee Cups has more than doubled, while the number of Glasses made of Glass has been greatly reduced... on account of recurrent injuries) - Rice & Soy (the Soy is in the Refrigerator, the Rice is on the next lower shelf; the area is now used for Canned Goods) - Fish, Grains, & Jerky (whereas, now it's almost all Nuts; but there's still some Jerky & Shelf-Stable Cheese Snacks) - Sugar & Chocolate (this is My Shelf and I use it for Chocolate and as a Trail Mix Loading Area) - Dishes (same Dishes; and then, some) - Crackers (originally moved to the left; now, it's Nuts) - By Others (Vitamins and such; By Others... Sweet One that she is).

Side-By-Side Stand-Up Desks

Since I covered this in the previous Then & Now Post, I will gloss the subject over, except to say a stack of Books appears in the image (from years ago). Whereas, I now only have the single Book... which I am using for reading. However, I do own another book (The Hobbit), which props up my Laptop, so the fan (which is perpetually aimed at it from only inches away) can do it's job (of preventing overheating, as I have lost CPU's this way) that much better. While six Massive Tombs (so to be accurate, I own eight books in total, six of which) lift the base of My Monitor Stand an exacting 12-⅝" into the air.

There are, also, a few Office Supplies (Envelopes and Glue, in the photo from times past), which I have managed to find homes for elsewhere... mostly on the other Stand Up Desk.


That's called outsourcing and/or delegation, my friends.

In the background (past and present), there are two matching tables: a matched pair (His & Hers). I can't see the Hers (in the photo). The His has a big bag (a multi-pounder) of Tortilla Chips on it (so, guess where that was purchased) and a few weights of a lower poundage than I am currently using (not that I am currently using any weights all that much). In addition, the area underneath is consumed by storage, but I have taken over that space, opening it up, and am currently letting a Banana Box full of found records (Vintage 45's of dubious value) slowly gather dust.

Um, since I don't have a record player nor do I envision ever getting one, the records real value lay in the sorting... and in the gifting to others who may (or may not) value them more than I.

{And this is where I will break on the day (after a short hour of work). Not that I think such facts are overly important for this particular write-up. But such commentary does make for a convenient excuse for an aside, in which I will mention that I typically keep a Full Size (Un-Cropped, Un-Modified) Image of every (well, at least most of) the Photographs I post. In this case, I'm not posting the working images (the images from which the text arises), so I am deleting them as I go. Meaning, thus far, four images have been deleted, while a 3000x2225 Resolution copy of the Fire Montage has been transferred to Archival Storage; so if need be, I can prove the photograph is mine. I, also, keep versioned copies of my Text Files for the same reason.}

Dishwasher & Refrigerator

The biggest change is that we (it is a communal living environment, consisting of one closely bonded heterosexual couple; or so, I am led to believe; anyhow, we) no longer use the dishwasher. There was some plumbing issue, the dishwasher backfilled with black slime, and by the time it had become sanitized (Run → Dry → Bleach → Run... and so on), I'd become used to washing everything by hand. The dishwasher wasn't that great to begin with. So, I had already been mostly washing everything by hand. I am The Dishwasher, after all. And it was easy enough to finalize the process (i.e. turning my preliminary wash into a full wash). Besides, the preliminary wash was so heavy, it had almost been a full wash, anyway.

We've done the cabinets above... except for those over the refrigerator. So, that double-door double-level area contained Overflow Glassware (since boxed-up and placed into long-term storage), a Cast Iron Crock Pot (which has been removed to The Vacuum Closet), and a Fancy Soup Bowl (which I cannot remember ever using; and so, it's wasting valuable space somewhere else in The Kitchen at this very moment).

The Freezer is/was full. At the time, I was using a Large Delivery Box to help sort contents. And now, I use two stacks of boxes side-by-side: two Small Delivery Boxes (flaps open, stacked one atop the other) and three Mail Order Meat Speciality Boxes, which after reinforcing with staples and tape make for grand flip-top organizers.

In The Freezer, I can make out large containers of both Chocolate and Vanilla Ice Cream. But having gone Keto and Semi-Keto (respectively... sort of), let us simplify things and say the Ice Cream has been replaced by Goose Fat and call it a day.

I do not feel like deconstruction the contents of The Refrigerator. (As said, I take these sort of pictures with the doors flung wide-open, whenever possible.) But the quantity {of contents in the Freezer & Refrigerator... and everywhere else in The Kitchen, as well} does wax-and-wane with the shopping cycle (the pictures having been taken somewhere in the middle). Meaning, there is an over-abundance of salad materials in The Refrigerator, as that's when we tend to eat our greenery {i.e. towards the end of the cycle, when all the better stuff is gone}.
"What's for supper?"
"Well, we could have salad."
"Nah, I don't feel like salad."
"Oh, why don't we get a pizza!"

    <celebrity voices impersonated>

Comfy Chair

I am a garbage picker. One of my great finds was this Comfy Chair. The beige-tan upholstery is solid. It never felt dirty. The legs kick up. The back flips back. And if you sway your body and hum to yourself, you'll be rocking yourself to sleep in no time.

Next to this are two shelving units, both scavenged. The better looking one (as seen in the picture), I broke and have since thrown away, having rested 90lbs worth of Dumbbells on the top shelf. Shown in the picture, a mere 40lbs (2 at 20lbs) rest on the inferior black put-together shelf (some assembly required).

From there, the biggest difference is the number of books. My eyes are going. I don't get to the library as much. Actually, I've been to the library exactly zero times in the last year on account of Covid. And I'm simply not doing as much reading. Anyway, it would be tedious to list all the books (perhaps, a short fifty, at first glance), so I'll just eyeball the stacks.

Five Odd Big Books: They are mostly technical works and text-books dealing with computers, topped with magazines... I would guess.

Ten Pulp Fiction: For awhile, the library was just giving away stacks of Old Detective Stories.

Receding Stack: It's a stack of a short twenty volumes going from oversized (whatever, likely light fiction, comics, and cartoons) to pulp fiction. The upper reaches of which being a working area and the lower consisting of items waiting their turn... as they would have been annoying to get to. Typically, I would have had several Major Books going and no end to minor.

Five Computer Books: I'd tend to tear the covers off of and pages out of soft-back technicals as I went, making them lighter. If I was doing a write-up, I'd take notes on the Copyright Page, using these pages as a bookmark (or just stuffing the resulting notes into the middle of the book at random) as I went. I was getting all of these for free. And at ten, twenty, and thirty years old, their time had come and gone.

Latimer (The Life Thereof): I guess this was my Major Major, at the time. But I'm sure I put it down for week long stretches... maybe even for months. Anyway, being over a century old, the book was a delight. It even smelled nice.

{Being fairly hard to get hold of (and often falling apart, full of mould, or in other ways annoying), I have not handled that many truly old books. But when in good shape, they are a delight for the senses (feeling and smelling wonderfully different). And the ideas, words, and phrases used open a whole new historical dimension. So, yeah. I can recommend picking up an old book, now and again.}

Two VCRs (and Combination DVD Players, no doubt): On-top of these and to the side are a few more books, assorted disks, and miscellaneous papers. I garbage picked the players, one of which worked, and which (I believe) was eventually sold by another (not the usual other) for some undisclosed (and most very likely paltry) sum.

Miscellaneous Working: I am on the bottom shelf now, working my way across (towards the back of the room). These {the first few books towards the front} were in easy reach and the top few would be Working Books. And although the next three stacks (consisting of twenty-odd volumes) would not be working, I question how much I relate of interest at this level of resolution. One stack is of Bridge Books, another Japanese Manga (which was a great find and a glorious weekend project to spread out and consume, as the magazines included posters, spreads, and all sorts of freebies), and a final stack of Pulp Fiction, including some SF most likely. In all, we are talking a little over twenty volumes {just in case you've already forgotten} on the bottom shelf. A number which I have rather carelessly arrived at, as it matters not the slightest.

{Pulp Fiction is not so much My Thing, as what was available. At one point, The Detective Novels were so easy to come by, I thought about making some sort of Robot Sculpture out of them. But then, just as suddenly (as The Library had started dumping them in the Free Pile they stopped and) my supply ran dry. I figure they got someone's old collection. And if you want my opinion, The Library should have sold the lot in one of their book drives, a thousand-odd Pulp Fiction having to be worth something. After all, I saw similar titles selling for a few dollars each at an estate sale, at more-or-less the same time. So, who knows what a Loyal Patron (and/or Fellow Collector) might have paid for Ten Mystery Boxes full of who knows what?}

So, those are the books. I would read them; and then, throw them out. And outside of my time in the Ozarks (when I arrived with at least a footlocker full of reading material, maybe even more than that), this is likely about as many books as I've ever had in my possession at any one time.

Heck, I've never formally done the math, so I might as well do it right now. I figure between the ages of 10 & 50, I most likely averaged a book a day... a number which is fuzzy as Fiction does not compare to Textbooks, while Magazines, Pamphlets, and Scientific Papers are hard to quantify {in any sort of proportionally meaningful way}. But let us call them even and say that I read one a day for forty years.

40 years * 365 days * 1 book/day = 14,600 Titles

Moving forward, I will round that up to 15,000 Books and call it A Life.

I could, also, do the same thing by time, having read easily an Hour a Day for most of my life, you know, like at a minimum. But I am less sure of the multiple {the number of Hours per Day that is reasonable to assume}. So, let us say I have spent somewhere between 25,000 and 50,000 Hours reading in my life. And I must admit, the number sounds a bit high. But then, time and time again, I have spent vast stretches of time buried in books, one then the next, looking up, diving back in, taking a break in-between to go to the library or some book store... you know, back when those were a thing.

It would be easy to begrudge the time. But as I grow old, look back, and plan a fictional next life, I would live that part of my life much the same, perhaps spending less time reading a higher quality of book... a metric I would be inclined to apply to people, as well.

{And it is totally true, if I were to be young again, being able to trade this body for another, this life for the next, being able to remember and carry forward, I would read again... hard and voraciously.

This Fictional Next Life is a project I should somehow start to work on formally. It occupies much of my thought. On one level, I am trying to Codify a Mental Best Practises (traits which would serve one best in this world): Honour, Kindness, and Empathy, for instance. At another level (closer to the level of a character in a story), it's always having a paperback to read (perhaps, Odysseus in the original Greek) tucked into my back-pocket to read in-between (during those gaps in time between) more Active Social Pursuits: Game Night, Parties, and Exploring the World.}

Top Shelf: This working surface (a storage area for Things TODO) holds a small stack of paper (perhaps, a magazine), a Glow Stick (never used), Screwdriver (Computer Size), Dice (I bought a massive horde that I've never really used), two more Glow Sticks (these were freebies), two High Powered Lights (also, never used: Plug-In LED Spotlights) and the Remote Control for those very same lights.

These days I have (i.e. looking over my shoulder, I see), Vanity Fair (hardbound, the only book I currently own), Tablet (for viewing videos), Headphones (used to listen to the same; I do love my PsyTrance... Goa Forest style, these days), Hand Balm, Measuring Tape, Drum Pad (infrequently used), Drum Sticks (more frequently used on the back of my Comfy Chair), Box of Tins (I must Collect), Mask (it is The Year of The Covid), Go Pieces (Black & White in classy Bamboo Containers, while The Board, itself, is stowed elsewhere), and a Cat Coffee Mug (not in use, as it has a huge crack; so, it's more of a Memory Marker or a temporary storage unit at this point).

While on a final shelf, there's a box filled with wires (a fairly large box) and another with computers in it (one dead laptop, another one never used), and a few pieces of mail.

And as they say, I could go on. But as I am not going to, that doesn't seem to be a very accurate thing to say.

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Rather than creating another page like this (another Then & Now), I believe I will be best served by trying to create that Fictionalized Account of My Best Life... or something like that. Not that I will. That's a really hard project. Whereas, this was quite easy, which is why this is the one that got done.

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