Tuesday, March 2, 2010

dreaming of spring and handmade challenges

Yes, I know. Aren't we all? It's just that this winter has seemed to drag on for an unconscionably long time. Here it is, the second day of March and I've yet to sight so much as the little green tips of snowbells, which are often seen around here in February, much less something truly cheerful like a crocus. These flowers pictured, sadly, are no more. I took the picture last month, the month before maybe. I think I need to get some more potted bulbs, I think. I don't often get cut flowers or even potted plants because of the environmental impact of the flower trade. They use more of the really dangerous pesticides than any other kind of crops. Sad but true.

Also sad is the fact that the second picture was taken only a few days ago, and it's still more or less what it looks like out of my window.

Not so much snow on the roofs and the snow in generally is a bit more... gray.

As a bit of a sad note, my beloved Creative Zen Vision M, which I've had for about three years now appears to slowly dying on me. I'm getting a really worrying white screen half the time when I turn it on. So I bought myself a Sansa Clip plus to hold me over until I can send my CZV to this guy I found in California who can fix it. Yes, this is unheard of. I am getting a small electronic device repaired instead of just (completely) replacing it. The clip plus is about the size of a small matchbook. It'll be great for the gym, I think. But I love my CZV. It has a good solid feel that no other player has, and huge storage capacity. 80G. No kidding. It's not even half full despite my huge music collection, the back-ups of my picture files and a bunch of video.

Why didn't I just "upgrade" to an iPod or iPhone? Part of it is sheer stubborness on my part. Another part is the 'cool' factor of the ipod. Anything too cool or popular, I generally don't want anything to do with, especially the smug coolness of Apple. All I know is, I'll probably always have anything but an iPod.

Actually, all this tech stuff is why I haven't full committed myself yet to
Dottie Angel's Utmost Challenge to buy only thrifted and handmade goods for a year. I really want to do it, but you can't buy hand crafted tech, sadly. I did compromise with my MP3 player, but sending it to get fixed rather than buying a schmancy new player with android and a touchscreen and all the bells and whistles. I thought about it and decided that I wanted to stick with my old friend the Zen.

And yet, I find myself thinking I will have to get a computer replacement in the next couple of months. Yes, all of us are incredibly lucky to have a computer at all and I will keep this one going for as long as I can. But truth be told, I'm working on a computer that my husband didn't find good enough to continue using. Not all of the USB ports work. It doesn't really have enough memory to run Vista properly. It chugs and spurts along and every time I use it, I'm afraid the next time will be time it doesn't boot at all.

So, just out of curiousity, how do you all balance your need to respect the environment (i.e. not buy new stuff willy-nilly every time you want it) versus wanting happy, fancy new toys versus just plain having stuff that works the way its supposed to?

Could I, in good conscience, say I'm doing the challenge but state ahead of time that I will be buying X, Y and Z new in the next year? There are some things you just can't buy used or hand-crafted. Like sometime soon, I will need a new bicycle helmet, because the one I have is looking rather battered, and you know, better safe than sorry. You can't buy a helmet used. I'm sorry. You just can't. It's not even that it's gross (it is), it's just plain not safe.

Which is all to say that, yes, I'm still thinking about taking up Dottie Angel's challenge, but that it's just a little more complicated than just doing it.

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