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Posted 2010.12.20 21.01 in Hobbies, Life On Drugs, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

No posts for about a week here – I’m feeling rather scattered. Hard to believe it’s about 2 months since I got off the cryptospam. The side-effects / withdrawal symptoms have all but left finally, but that still leaves me with just the depression.

I’ve been trying to deal with that by forcing myself to be active, getting back into some of my old hobbies, like electronics. It’s difficult though, trying to get the interest or enthusiasm up. I think it’s a bit like when a kid is forced to do some activity by the parents, you know? Piano lessons or soccer or whatever… the kid doesn’t really want to, but grudgingly goes along with it because they have no choice. I think it’s like that, only I’m playing both roles.

This has led to me being a bit frantic and scattered. What I mean is, I know I’m supposed to be doing something but don’t necessarily want to do whatever I may have started yesterday, so today I try something else. Then there’s shipping delays and stuff so I’ll order some electronics kit, and before it arrives, I’ve gotten interested in six more things — and potentially ordered or bought them too, in the meantime.

Ontop of all this, it’s the stupid-season (season’s greetings) and that brings all sorts of additional baggage and issues. What a time to kick the anti-depressants, right? Always a joy at the x-mas parties, too: “Hi, haven’t seen you in ages. How have you been?” “Well, I feel like crap and I’m thinking about hanging myself from that tree over there. How about you?”

So I’ve got a lot of half-built half-finished half-thought-out projects on the go, and if I’m not working or trying to sleep, I’m trying to coax myself to “have fun” with a project. Today I’ve been working on my DIY-Thermostat.

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Posted 2010.12.07 20.07 in Hobbies, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

What do you get when you mix electronics, boredom, a pinch of depression, and a warped sense of humour? Well, an Ow!Box! is one possibility…

Yes, it’s a fun-for-all-ages way to cause a little pain — without leaving any pesky scars or evidence. Just touch the two screwheads and crank up the juice. How long can you last? How much can you take?

Impress your friends, baffle your family, make it into a drinking game, or just wire up some chairs around the house.

The function is simple: Power from a 9v battery is run through a 555 timer chip to create DC pulses. These pulses are used to trigger a simple transister, which tweaks the primary winding of a step-up transformer. The secondary winding of the transformer is wired to the neon bulb as well as the touch contacts. A BNC port also allows the signal to be routed….elsewhere.

Put in a fresh battery, turn it on, and have fun!

One of my Favorites

Posted 2010.12.04 22.28 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

The last couple weeks I’ve been carrying around my Zeiss Ikon Nettar camera. It’s one of my favorites – made in 1949, it’s a real classic. Uses 120 rollfilm, shoots 6x6cm square images. With a 75mm f/4.5 lens, and an all-mechanical shutter that can go all the way up to 1/200sec! Yeah, mine is the good one with the f/4.5 aperture and the Pronto shutter!


I’ve been trying to rekindle my interest in photography, and as a result this is the camera that’s been bouncing around inside my purse for the past few weeks. I really need to dig it out of the purse and take some pictures, but… I don’t know what to shoot.

I feel awkward doing ‘street photography’, like people probably don’t want to be caught in some stranger’s snapshots. I do like landscapes or abandoned industrial-style areas, but there’s nothing interesting around my usual routes.

It’s not like I have 36 or even 24 frames to get through – at 6×6 you only get 12 shots on a roll of 120, and I think I got half of those off just playing around the house. So, I just need to get around to shooting a half dozen more frames, then I can put the Nettar away and start thinking about processing some film.

It’s just… it’s harder than I expected, to get myself re-interested in any of my old hobbies.

Selvage the Interface

Posted 2010.09.08 11.24 in Hobbies, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

First time in a couple years, I blew the dust off the sewing machine and had at it.

See, I wanted a sort of purse. I’ve been using these little pouch/purse things, and I quite like them, but I’ve never found one that’s perfect. I’ve bought 4 or 5 of them, but they’re always the wrong material, or the wrong size, or the wrong colour, and so on.

Then yesterday, it struck me. Why not just make one? I mean, how hard can it be? It’s just a little pouch, with a couple pockets.

I made a sketch, to help visualize what I wanted. I put it together in my head, then took it apart to see how to shape each piece. Actually I did that a few times, but was having some trouble getting all the pieces sorted out in my head.

Finally I just figured heck with it, I’ll just wing it. I mean, if I can make a camera without any plans, surely I can make a little purse without a pattern.

So I dug up all the fabric I bought back when I was excited about sewing. Interestingly, the fabric that I had in my imagination did not exist in my cupboard. Still, I found one that was good enough – black denim.

I measured out what I wanted, added a bit extra for mistakes and sloppiness, fired up the sewing machine, and got to work.

Or at least, I tried to get to work. I literally fired up the sewing machine. I mean, I pushed the pedal down, it made a noise that translates as “Gosh I’m really trying quite hard but no, I’m not actually going to move.” Then to ensure I did not miss it’s point, it let out a big belch of smoke from it’s back end.

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Snails, Fish, Aquarium

Posted 2009.07.24 21.06 in Aquaria, Hobbies by Stephanie

Some of my friends and family have expressed surprise that I am getting so much enjoyment from my aquarium, and specifically from a couple snails and some fish. Without over-analyzing things, I figured I’d put a bit of thought into how to explain why I find them to be a compelling passtime.


Panoramic view of my 23 gallon aquarium.

For one thing, I’ve always found moving water to be relaxing. Just the sound of it, the sense of it in the air. I read somewhere that moving water ionizes the air, which is why it feels so fresh after it rains, and why it feels so good around a waterfall.

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What’s a Hobby?

Posted 2009.06.12 8.06 in Hobbies by Stephanie

To me, there is a fairly simple way to define a hobby.  It is perhaps not exactly what the dictionary says, but according to the Encyclopedia Stephanie, there are a few criteria which must be met, for an activity to be classified as a hobby:

  • It should have little or no practical value.
  • It must not be related to work or school.
  • It must be a money-sink.

Let’s look at these points one at a time.

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