Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the tag “packrat”

Maximal Minimalism

Hey! Come on, I NEED this stuff!

Hey! Come on, I NEED this stuff!

Having had the opportunity to simplify my life over the last couple of years, the process has revolutionized it. In my stick and brick days, I was a pack rat, you see. Liking to create, cobble together or modify things leads to a “Hmmm, I might be able to use that someday” outlook. My store of screws, bolts, nuts, washers, brackets and so on was impressive. But I hardly limited myself to that.

I tend to be most interested by anything that was cutting edge in its own day. I once owned two IBM portable (briefcase-sized) 386 computers, complete with internal and external upgrades that made them more adaptable to different tasks. They had a different internal board architecture that let them multitask faster than normal 386’s, so naturally, I just had to put them to actual use and thrash them to put these thoroughbreds through their paces. I had picked up each of these suitcase Transformer-like relics for $100 at a time when fast Pentiums ruled the day. Portable computers throughout the 1980s were horrendously expensive affairs, but these 1989 state-of-the-art boxes began life at seven thousand, two hundred dollars each – before upgrades. That’s $13,600 in today’s dollars. That’s partly because the only available market at that time was business, not consumer, component costs were staggering, and the heavy units had to be designed for airline-rough handling. I wound up giving them to a man whose son was starting a personal computer museum of sorts, and he wanted to offer them as startup gifts. You see, a pack rat is simply a collector who has lost his focus. What the pack rat collects is of little value, but is retained for its potential usefulness in the future. In my case, it helps if it is a shiny object.

But as I said, the process of simplifying has revolutionized my life. Okay, well, perhaps more evolved it…by force. Alright, a small tweak then. I still accumulate the same crap, but on a much smaller scale, having gone from over 3,000 square feet to 200, plus the pickup truck’s bed and cab. And no rented storage spaces – that would be cheating. It’s hard to brag about being on the wagon when you’ve got a 55-gallon drum of whiskey tucked

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Packrat Purgatory

Packrat Ethic meets Finite Space.

Packrat Ethic meets Finite Space.

What if you had to reduce the sum total of all your worldly goods into a new home measuring just 8′ x 26′? Not an 8×26 storage unit, but a living space complete with closets, couch, desk with computer, dining area with benches or chairs, bed, complete kitchen with stove, oven, microwave and refrigerator, cookware and servingware, lamps and lighting, TV and associated gizmos, bedroom, bathroom with sink, toilet, tub/shower and medicine cabinet, furnace and air conditioner with ductwork, space heater, water heater, water and waste tanks, all clothing for both hot and cold weather, and all of the hobby crap and books that you amuse yourself with? Don’t forget aisles that give you complete access from end to end, and no fair stacking boxes or bins from floor to ceiling unless you can tie them down for transport along roads rough enough to make an earthquake seem like Read more…

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