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I just dabbed 5-minute epoxy onto the broken Otterbox holster that I broke less than two weeks after I got it from Otterbox. This holster was a replacement for the original holster that came with my Otterbox iPhone 5 case. (I am not bragging about having an iPhone 5. Well maybe a little. But really, iPhone 5 is SO last release!) That holster lasted almost a full year. It broke when the holster got caught in a seat belt getting into my car. The replacement broke when I turned to let someone through a narrow door and caught my phone on the door jamb. The belt clip just snapped right off the holster phone-holder part.

By the way – Otterbox both as a company and as a product is great! I drop my cell phone more often than I think most people do, (or maybe not, but how would I know?) and I am certain my phone works as well as the day I bought it, because of my Otterbox case.

Otterbox probably would have replaced the broken holster again. They were really good about replacing the first one, and their customer service was great. But in all honesty, I felt kind of dumb about how it got broken and so I told myself that I didn’t want to go through the hassle of printing the form, taking the whole case apart, taking pictures of the parts, and sending an explanatory claim email to them.

Actually I just felt embarrassed at having broken another of their holsters in such short order. I could almost hear the ong-suffering customer service person on the return desk making a clucking noise and shaking their head over my klutziness. In my universe my grandmother invented that noise, and I can still hear her make that sound when I do something dumb. It is the “stupid” sound. It is embarassing.

So I looked at the damage and thought, I can fix this with some epoxy and a clamp. It won’t be “as good as new” but it will be good enough.

While I was mixing the Lepage’s Five-Minute Epoxy on a Post-It Note with a generic toothpick, I thought, when did we stop repairing things?

I know. We still repair big things like cars and houses and computers, but how many of us would feel even remotely comfortable trying to fix a toaster or blender or even replace a window pane? Now that I think about it, how many of us even know how to repair our own cars anymore? Can you replace a window pane in a new “modular”window? Put a new battery in a tablet? They have “sealed units” and “computer diagnostics” and “proprietary parts and software” that we, the laypeople who buy this stuff, are not allowed to know about.

Apple invented special screws (pentalobes – Google it!) to keep people out of their products! Not Apple’s competitors, because you know they are getting in somehow, but the average user. Ma and Pa and little Joey and Suzie who purchase and own their products. How many consumer products do you buy these days that say “No user serviceable parts inside.”?

Whatever happened to the neighborhood “Fix-It” shop where that old guy, Fred, used to be able to repair almost anything for a fraction of the cost of buying a new one?

Gone.

Like soda bars in drug stores and drive-in movies. And video stores. Side note: I have now lived long enough to have lived through the entire lifecycle of a product type and its marketing arm: Videotapes from Beta to VHS and the stores where you could once go to rent them.

Gone.

But I digress.

While I wait for the epoxy to set (glue dries, epoxy “sets” – my grandfather taught me that), I think about other things that I used to try and fix myself or used to take to get repaired.

Televisions: TV repair guy used to come to your house because the sets were too big and heavy to carry to the shop. “Portable” television meant a less than 50 pound something you could move if you were a strong, able-bodied person. The repair guy had a tube-tester to check all the tubes in your TV set and replace the one that was dead. Like a light bulb. TV sets lasted for YEARS. Event the picture tube could be replaced for far less than what the total set cost. They were big and heavy and flaky and undependable but you could fix them.

I understand why this changed. Tubes were replace by solid-state transistors and soldered into “modules” replacing whole racks of tubes and wires. Smaller, faster, lighter, more dependable…but somehow less “real”. We could no longer look into the back and see the wonder of technology and understand it.

But even simple things don’t get repaired today. I have a lovely retro-style correspondent’s case from a company called Frost River: (https://www.frostriver.com/shop/correspondent-briefcase/)
I like it because it looks like, and is in fact, the same type of bag carried by reporters, archaeologists, scientists and other world travellers from a time that likely never existed outside my own fantasies. Canvas, leather, and brass. Real materials. That wear out. Clips break, straps wear and fray, canvas gets torn. How do you fix that stuff? How big does your sewing machine have to be to sew canvas to leather? Answer: very large.

I don’t have the skills, knowledge or access to the tools to effect even basic repairs to that bag. Do I acquire them? Do I take the time and spend the money to be able to repair the bag?

No. I buy a new one. Maybe a better version. Or that other bag I lusted for, after I got the now damaged one.

Shoes, belts, clothing (let’s not start about torn jeans bought that way on purpose!) small appliances, etc. are all easier to replace now than to repair. Large appliances are staring down this road too. How much for a repair person (plumber or electrician) to come to your home and fix your dishwasher or stove?

How much stuff do we send to landfills or recycling centres because we are too lazy, or unwilling or unable to fix it ourselves to or get it fixed. Sometimes we cannot even find a person who would be ABLE to repair our stuff. The repair shops and the people who ran them are gone.

Gone.

It seems somehow sad and wasteful that we have left a whole class of people in the past: The craftsman repair-person in no longer a part of the fabric of our existence and the weave of our lives is lessened from that absence.

Well the epoxy has set and the holster is usable again. 60 grams of plastic not going into a landfill someplace. Have a great day!

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Thanks to Quinn MacDonald at Quinn Creative for this thought on Creativity: “If you want to really hurt your parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.” ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

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I was going to post last week about why we have not heard from the Aliens yet (yes, except for those few “special” people who have – you know who you are.)

My reasoning was twofold. First space is vast and we are in a small back-country corner of it and have not yet been discovered. Second, we may have been discovered and they just are not talking to us.

Like those mean girls in high school who cannot be bothered because we are so boooooorrrrring!

But since the fine writer of Wait But Why covered this topic so completely in his post two weeks ago, The Fermi Paradox, I will just direct you there. It is long and totally cool.

I will leave you with the thought that maybe we don’t WANT the aliens to discover our world and us upon it. They might feel the same way we do when we open the wall up and discover termites infesting the woodwork. Maybe we only THINK we are fascinating and worth saving.

Maybe we only think we THINK.

Think about that.

As to why they have not invaded – why bother? If they are sufficiently advanced enough to get here in the first place, what could we possible offer them? Our water? Jupiter’s moon Europa has many more tons of fresh water than Earth does, and no nasty indigenous species to complain about someone stealing it. Metals? Minerals? Natural resources? All exist throughout the solar system free for the taking.

The asteroid belt contains million ton chunks of metal just waiting to be towed and smelted into something useful.

Would they want our arts and entertainments? Only if they see, hear, smell and taste in the the same sensory spectra humans do.

Arts appeal to emotions. What if we are discovered by Vulcans?

We need to look to ourselves and our own world and our ability to expand beyond it, mentally and physically and to stop looking outside ourselves for salvation.

Only we can save ourselves from ourselves.

The question is are we creative enough to do so?

Do we have the willpower to do what is required?

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This is a re-blog of a FANTASTIC post  by http://sophieologie.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/1200-calories/

Every woman in North America should read this. It is not the answer to every eating issue, but there are SO many things this covers that apply to the “average” person. WOMEN and MEN. Oh – and ADJUST your FREAKING attitudes people! Strong is GOOD!

1200 Calories.

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Saturday Creative Spark

Quinn MacDonald of http://www.quinncreative.wordpress.com is ALWAYS worth a read!

Saturday Creative Spark.

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No one succeeds without excellent communication skills. Good writing is compelling. Good communication is convincing. Good training is rare. Welcome to QuinnCreative.