Sunday, March 19, 2023

Photons and the loss of determinism

May God bless those of you who have chosen to continue learning throughout your life....especially if you are way past your college or university years. I applaud you.
There are so many new options for these kind of self led learners.
As clipped above...this is any example of the free online classes that anyone with an internet connection can view for free. This past week, it also occurred to me to check to see if these classes have written transcripts and turns out they do!! So, now if I am struggling to spell something that I have heard in these classes, I can simply scroll down underneath the video and click on the transcript, find the corresponding words that connect with the timestamp I am listening to, and find the accurate spelling and wording.

Thank you M.I.T.
Thank you youtube!

Peacefully productive,

Don't ever talk yourself out of listening in on new things, things that you think are beyond your "ken".

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Easy Cheapskate Hat with ONE Ball of Yarn

Hi Friends, I seem to back in knitting mode. And joy oh bliss, I made my way finally over to the legendary store called Len's Mill Store in Ontario, Canada. 

Not sure if these kind of stores are all over the world and frankly not gonna google it today. But hopefully you have discount arts and crafts stores or warehouses in your region of the world.

Since many years ago, I have gravitated to things that are easy to do, easy to learn and easy to master. Not because I don't like difficult challenges, but because I like to choose my battles. Knitting is a hobby, an enjoyable and practical creative outlet. If God allows me to make money from it some day, then so be it. I do so enjoy knitting and making something that is useful and I can taylor it to suit an ideal in my head and in my chosen budget. I will always be in the mode of discovery and exploration in the world of 
"cheap diy knits". I love the challenge of making something that makes sense to my wallet as well as to my skill level. I have refused to become  a "pattern slave" and make whatever I wish, whenever I choose. I do not compare myself to other knitters.  I knit for the happy of it all.

Did I mention that I don't really like to follow a pattern? I prefer to catch only the basics from better knitters and then make up my own designs along the way. I don't like the way modern knitting patterns seem to simply be a mathematical formula, which takes the creativity pretty much out of the equation.

With social media being so strong and prevalent, it is so easy to get caught up in some kind of bragging race to the top. But does this competition help us or hurt us? Not sure yet. All I can say is....if you are trying to create a hobby or art work for yourself to enjoy and to develop your own creativity, don't let anyone else set the standards for your art. Be yourself and create something that makes YOU happy....not the professional knitter on youtube or facebook. 
Knit at your own pace with the tools that you are most comfortable with.

 Knit for fun and relaxation.

 Any who, back to this simple one ball hat. All I used was one ball of Bernat Softee Chunky acrylic yarn. I don't really use the word "skein"....I still prefer to call a ball of yarn....a ball of yarn.
I cast on 48 stitches onto my metal circular knitting needs and I was off to the races. I did  a bit of ribbing with knit 4  purl 4 pattern until I felt that there was enough of a brim on the hat and then the rest was simple knitting. Eventually I  reduced stitches gradually by knitting 2 together occasionally with a bit of consistency until the crown of the hat was covered.  When I start reducing stitches I take care to do this with somewhat equal spacing between the reductions, so as to not produce a lop sided hat.

All the supplies I used are feature in the photos above.

I know that folks who like to think of themselves as "professional" knitters tend to use more fancy and expensive yarns, but for now, I am happy with using 100% acrylic...because the texture is consistent and the yarn does not cause any kind of allergic reaction to me or anyone else. And of course, this yarn is nice and cheap for a "super bulky" yarn.

The price for one ball of Bernat Softee Chunky yarn at the Len's Mill Store in Ontario is currently 3.99 per ball (you may call it a skein) plus tax

Other chain stores sell this type of yarn too, but at a higher price point. 

Well, that's all for now. Do you like to knit simple hats with cheap yarns? Do your friends and family wear them happily? Do tell!

May God bless your productivity and artistic adventures.


Sunday, January 22, 2023

Cheapskate Review... Monthlies

This post is not for those who are trying to increase their monthly expenses. This is for the other group of humans who are trying to urgently reduce their monthly bills, so as to get a hold of their finances and have more money left at the end of the month.....that they can choose to spend freely in a manner that pleases them personally.

We live in an age of subscriptions. Everything can be ordered as a recurring monthly subscription program...... including cat food, online weight loss programs,  film streaming, social media memberships and gyms. If you don't pay attention, you may be paying for a lot more monthly subscriptions than you need or want.

So, let's pretend you are trying to completely eliminate your recurring monthly non essential services. What things can you do without?

Social media premium level memberships. Some social media platforms are requesting their users to buy a membership which "enhances" their usage to a "higher" level than the "freebie" loving general public. Do you really need this monthly bill? Is it really adding value to your life? I am not going to type in the actual name of these social media platforms, but you know which ones they are. You don't need to be paying for usage, if there is a basic "ad based" format still available.  That's maybe 2 or 2 monthly subscriptions gone from your monthly billing cycle.

(CHEAPSKATE HACK) I recently discovered a site which allows you to watch and enjoy everything that is currently on the ad-based format of a very popular social medial site.....but without the ADS! I was thrilled to discover this worked well. I noted that it did not have 100% of the same functionality of the ad based platform, but it worked well enough to allow me to watch and/or listen to many of my favorite recordings without the  distracting nuisance of ads. Ad blockers may also help you survive through other annoying ad filled apps. Be sure that the ad blockers are legit and do not add viruses to your laptop/PC.

Next, Do you really need to subscribe to a monthly film streaming service? Have you looked into cheaper and/or free options? There are several film streaming services that offer free or cheaper versions, such as Roku (with purchase of unit) or Tubi. I also just noticed an ad for a free streaming service called Plex. Is it any good? Have you used it?
Does your local public library have free access to streaming services? 
Does your local public library have free access to CD's and DVD rentals? Do you still own a DVD or Blue ray player that you can dust off and put to good use? Must we really pay a monthly fee for entertainment when free or really cheap offerings are all around us?

Thirdly, have you signed up for some kind of monthly delivery of certain goods? Certain foods, or hats, or wine or cheese tastings? There is nothing wrong with any of these expenses, as long as we can afford them. I have even seen monthly subscriptions to dress or clothing rental programs. Don't sign up for these type of things carelessly by just throwing them on a credit card. Use these type of services when you can afford to use them. These monthly bills add up. Do the math today and add them all up. Print up a statement, a hard black and white copy of one month of transactions on your bank accounts and credit cards. Write down each one that make a debit deduction on a monthly basis. Add them all up. How much is being deducted automatically from your bank accounts and/or credit cards? How many did you find?  
I want you to be sure that you really want or need the items that you are paying for on a monthly basis. When you take control of your monthly bills, you may discover that you have more funds left over at the end of the month that you can use for investing or vacations or for building up a reserve fund to pay for those things we can't always predict....such as car repairs or a new lawn mower, or a better health care option.

Make your money obey YOUR own  commands....not the expectations of the ad companies that have targeted you because of your income or lifestyle profile. Algorithms are ruthless in how they target us night and day. Use discipline and self control to choose when and how you spend/save your money. Make your money make sense.

Have you signed up for magazine or newspaper subscriptions that you rarely read? Cancel them unless you use them often. Public libraries offer free alternatives, many of which may now be accessed online in the comfort of your own home. You can also buy a newspaper straight from your local convenience store, without subscribing to anything. Keep freedom in your wallet, and buy things without a monthly commitment.

Charities may target you with their fund raising appeals because you live in a certain area code. They may specifically ask you to become a monthly automatic donor. Be careful of these type of arrangements. An automated charitable gift will have the right to take money from your account because you have authorized their organization to do so. The system then becomes dehumanized and will continue to take your monthly donations even if you find yourself in a tight financial bind. I am not telling you to become selfish. I am not telling you to not give. But I am telling you to give on your own time table and in your own style. Don't let the person or organization who is the receiver of your generosity, determine how you give. Don't be manipulated by promises of "special premium donor status" which try to convince you to give higher amounts of money. If you want to give large amounts of money away, please go ahead and do so, but do so because YOU have chosen to do so, not because someone has manipulated you into making you feel guilty for the blessings you have. Do the charities you sponsor show proper gratitude for your gifts? Thankfulness and gratitude for your generosity is essential. Make sure to expect and accept thanks from those whom have benefited from your charitable giving.

Give when and how you choose, and in the amount you can afford.
If you prefer to write an old fashioned check, because it helps you balance your budget, then do that. You don't need to give in the manner that a certain charity prefers. Give as YOU choose, because God has given YOU authority over your own finances. There is a reason that you have what you have. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Last, but not least, have you signed up for a gym membership that you never go to? I have heard a horror story about a woman who cancelled her gym membership only to discover that the gym still kept taking money out of her account every month. She finally had to go to the bank in person to have the matter dealt with. Some folks have had to cancel their bank accounts, because a gym refused to cancel their monthly bill payments. Be careful what you sign up for, especially if it requires a monthly payment. Some gyms allow you to pay up front for one day or one week of usage. This allows greater control over someone who only needs a gym once in a while.

Well friends, that's all for now. My rant is done. I hope that you are prospering and enjoying all the beautiful things and wealth that you have....on your own terms and on your own time schedule. Be well :)