Yes, I’m alive.

Sorry I haven’t posted in forever. I’ve been adjusting to the new work schedule and working on a couple of pretty substantial projects.

OK, so “adjusting” is probably the wrong word. “Reveling in the glory of following my circadian rhythm” and “catching up the sleep deficit I ran up while trying to conform to society’s asinine ideas about how my sleep cycle should work for 10 years” are probably more accurate descriptions of what I’ve been doing for the past two months. You have no idea how much better I feel. I’ve set an alarm ONCE since mid-February, and that was only because I had a prior commitment I couldn’t duck out of.

In addition to catching up on a decade’s worth of lost sleep, I’ve been revising my novel for the umpty-seventh time and working like a madwoman to get ready for a Route 66 mural-painting project that starts this weekend and should wrap up in a couple of weeks. I’ll blog about it when it’s all finished, but if you want to see the work in progress, I’m probably going to live-tweet it. The biggest mural I’m planning — which will take up three walls in a garage — will feature trompe l’oeil paintings of neon signs that haven’t lit (and in some cases, haven’t existed) in decades. The technique I use to get the glow effect lends itself well to live-tweeting, as it goes from blurry mess to photorealistic painting in a series of steps that are so easy, you really have to see them to appreciate them.

Once you see the technique, you’ll be mad you didn’t think of it yourself, because it’s so simple, I’m pretty sure my 6-year-old niece could pull it off. (And she’ll probably get the opportunity in the not-too-distant future. Something tells me she and the boys would really enjoy a little foray into superrealism.)

Stay tuned. I’ll have a photo-heavy post for you in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter at @redforkhippie.

Emily

Eco-Saturday: Razor rant

This week’s Eco-Saturday is less a suggestion than a rant masquerading as a question:

Why are razor companies going out of their way to trash the environment as fast as they can go?

I would like very much to minimize the amount of trash we generate around here, and I’ve taken many steps to that effect, most of which I’ve shared on this blog. But I shouldn’t have to take out a second mortgage on the house to accomplish that.

A package of eight cartridges designed to fit Gillette Sensor razors retails at $22.29; two packages of four disposable Sensor razors will set you back $14.78. The same dynamic holds true for women’s razors, albeit usually in a less dramatic fashion: $17.49 will buy you five Venus replacement cartridges or six whole disposable Venus razors.

WTF, Gillette? You can’t tell me it costs less to make a whole razor than it costs to make a razor cartridge. Not when the design is virtually identical, and the cartridges use less material.

I thought I’d found a workaround a while back, when I picked up a package containing a Bic razor and several refills at a reasonable price. Then I got the damned thing home, opened it up, and found out Bic does not sell refills independently of the razors, so you’re still tossing it out and buying a new one way more often than necessary.

I’m not keen on trashing the planet or rewarding companies for implementing a price structure that actively discourages environmentally responsible behavior, so I did a little online research to see what it would take to tell Gillette to kiss my arse.

The answer?

About $30. That’s what it costs for an old-fashioned safety razor and a pack of five blades.

At worst, if I can’t figure out a safe way to recycle them, I’ll be throwing out one very small piece of metal every couple of weeks. Contrast that with the Bic semi-disposable I’ve been using lately:

razor

No contest — especially when I can buy 100 replacement blades for $9, and they come wrapped in tiny slips of paper I can toss in the recycler when I’m done.

I’ll try to remember to do an update once it comes in and I get a chance to use it and determine whether it’s as good a product as I’m hoping it will be.

Emily

P.S.: Here are days 12-18 of my Lent project:

I bought this for my classroom library when I taught. For some reason, I brought it home instead of giving it to another teacher. S.E. Hinton needs to be on a classroom shelf for a kid to enjoy, not languishing in a former English teacher's living room, so into the box "Rumble Fish" goes.
I bought this for my classroom library when I taught. For some reason, I brought it home instead of giving it to another teacher. S.E. Hinton needs to be on a classroom shelf for a kid to enjoy, not languishing in a former English teacher’s living room, so into the box “Rumble Fish” goes.
What is it with me and picture frames? I have no idea when or why I bought this one, but I think it's moved with me twice and still hasn't found its way out of the shrinkwrap.
What is it with me and picture frames? I have no idea when or why I bought this one, but I think it’s moved with me twice and still hasn’t found its way out of the shrinkwrap.
Cute shirt. I haven't worn it in years. I don't remember why, but I'm guessing I didn't like the fit.
Cute shirt. I haven’t worn it in years. I don’t remember why, but I’m guessing I didn’t like the fit.
Love this shirt. Too bad it's two sizes too small. Bye.
Love this shirt. Too bad it’s two sizes too small. Bye.
I have a picture somewhere of myself wearing this shirt at a festival in 2002. Or as I call it, "30 pounds ago."
I have a picture somewhere of myself wearing this shirt at a festival in 2002. Or as I call it, “30 pounds ago.”
I meant to leave this at our old house so the buyer could take advantage of the woodstove, but I forgot. I'll either ship it to him or give it to Mom.
I meant to leave this at our old house so the buyer could take advantage of the woodstove, but I forgot. I’ll either ship it to him or give it to Mom.
I think I bought this when I didn't own any pans with lids that fit right. Don't ask me why I thought that made more sense than buying a damn lid.
I think I bought this when I didn’t own any pans with lids that fit right. Don’t ask me why I thought that made more sense than buying a damn lid.

An announcement

If you’re thinking of buying Route 66 for Kids for your Kindle, wait a couple of days for me to post the new edition. I couldn’t find the option to upload the new edition, and in the process of looking for it, I republished the current edition under a description that makes it sound as if I’ve updated it. Amazon has to review and approve things before you’re allowed to go back in and edit them, so I have to wait 12 to 48 hours to fix the problem — and then another 12 to 48 hours to get the fix approved. If you accidentally buy a copy that claims to be the fifth edition in the description, but the copyright date isn’t 2015, email me, and I’ll send you the corrected edition as either a Word file or a PDF.

In related news, as soon as I get this crap sorted out, I’ll have a new edition of Route 66 for Kids available on Amazon. I’ll blog and tweet something as soon as the real update goes live.

Vegetarian Friday and my latest Lent items coming shortly. It’s been a week.

Emily

Lent, Day 7

Day 7 of my giving-up-random-objects-for-Lent project:

lent7

I bought this to heat-set henna after I moved. I used it maybe three times before I discovered my gray was finally coming in at an acceptable rate, whereupon I stopped dyeing my hair, as I’d always promised myself I would do just as soon as I had enough gray to make it worth the effort of growing out a dye job.

I haven’t used this dryer in over a year, and I’m not planning to use it again. It needs a new home, where it will be loved and appreciated, and I think I know just the place. We have a terrific organization here in Cape called Safe House for Women. Safe House provides all kinds of services to victims of domestic violence — including, as the name suggests, temporary housing.

I feel fairly confident that an organization designed to serve women can put a barely used bonnet dryer to good use one way or the other. If the residents don’t need it, they can stick a price tag on it and sell it at the thrift store to raise a few bucks. Either way, it’s a good dryer that isn’t doing any good for anybody on a shelf in the basement, so away it goes.

This project really is a lot of fun. The total randomness of the objects I’m clearing out of here is amazing.

Emily

Lent, Day 6

Day 6 of my giving-random-objects-up-for-Lent project:

lent6

Ignore the terrible photo quality; my iPhone was having a temper tantrum. Focus instead on the coolness of this find: Four unused CFLs I found under the kitchen sink. I think I bought these on sale several years ago and never used them because LED bulbs got a lot better and a lot cheaper before I had a chance to install the CFLs.

Although they pay for themselves over time, both LEDs and CFLs are still a bit out of reach for a lot of people, so these will go to a food pantry, where someone who can’t afford a $5 lightbulb can install them and see an immediate drop in the power bills.

I think this is my favorite of all the stuff I’ve put in the giveaway box so far.

Emily

Sustainability on a shoestring

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