"Because that's where my land is," said Jimmy Carter.
Well slap me hard and call me Nelly! It's so simple! Why didn't I think of that?!
I hate my hometown. I mean, I loathe it. I was so happy when I left there to go to Georgia Tech when I was 17. It was the first time I ever met people (not relatives) that had things in common with me. It never occurred to me in the whole 20 years I lived in Atlanta to go back there. But that's where my land is. Jimmy Carter knows. It was the SOCIETY I didn't like there. I liked the land. That's where my land is.
I've looked at the plans for his house. I bet it was uncomfortable as hell. Drafty! My experiment is not just how to live without society, it's how to live WELL without society. I already beat Thoreau's 2 years on Walden Pond by living in my little house for 5 years before I went to Austin for a year. But now I'm back and it could be for good this time.
One of the difficulties of little house life is finding a place to work on the computer. When I first lived here I just had my laptop and it didn't work that great. My counter is too narrow. So I got a 20" iMac. It has a smaller footprint than a laptop. But while I was in Austin I got one of the new Mac minis. It has the new Thunderbolt interface. So I sold my regular Apple LCD Display in Austin and ordered one of the new Thunderbolt displays to be sent here. But good lord, that thing is huge. I can't just shove it to the end of the counter when I want to eat here. I need some mechanical advantage. I consulted my friend the professional home theater installer and he assured me that my idea to hang the whole outfit from the ceiling was valid. I got to doing my research and finally worked out a combination of institutional TV mounts and high end desk mounts. I ordered all the parts on Amazon (See Bill of Materials at the end). I finally got all of them Monday afternoon. I immediately started putting it together.
The ceiling is really the floor of my loft, which is the platform for my mattress. I already had a pair of bookshelf speakers mounted up there. I decided it was ridiculous to try to run the signal all the way to my giant amp under the ladder so I ordered a little amp too. I put my giant amp in my mini-warehouse with the rest of my home theater and put my printer down there instead. Now I have room for more food in my cupboard, which is where the printer used to live.
Monitor power cord.
I put a UPS at the end of the bed to power all these goodies. Yes, that's another Mac mini and 27" TV in the loft at the foot of the bed. I like computers. Shut up.
The mounting point on the articulating arm has slots on top instead of holes so you can put the screws in the monitor and just drop it on and it will hold it there while you put the other screws in the holes and tighten them. Yeah, but it's still little ol' me lifting a 27 pound monitor above shoulder height while trying to see where the screws and slots are. I'm still feeling that 4 days later.
I still have to hook it up to the computer though. I got a little shelf that mounts on the pole. It's intended for DVD players for ceiling mounted TVs, but it's big enough for all my stuff.
The next morning when I was ready to mess around with my new computer some more I got a call from the glass company that they had my new window. Remember my fogged glass picture from a few weeks ago? Well I had somebody come look at it. They quoted me a price for a 1" air gap, low-e insulated window not that much different from what I just spent for all the components to hang a computer from the ceiling so I figured it was fair and ordered it. It only took them a few days to get it and then they gave me all of 20 minutes notice that they were on their way. I scrambled to move all loose objects that might be in the way. I still haven't put back all the stuff I piled in the bathtub. Man this house is small.
But my nostalgia is beside the point. I now have a window that cost more than all my other windows and doors put together. I need to devise an experiment to see if there is a measurable improvement in performance.
Price included installation! It didn't include redoing all the trim on the inside. It took me 5 more hours after they left to finish this job, plus another hour the next day to get the blinds cleaned and put back. I wiped every slat and rubbed off each fly speck with baking soda. (Did you know "fly speck" is housewife code for "spider shit"? Well, actually flies leave their own spots of shit, too, but because spiders hang out in the same spot for so long it really builds up. I clean it off my house exterior regularly because the smell of it attracts more flies.)
So here it is today, new window, computer on a pole, and overcast so I can take pictures and make a video to show how it works. I'm pretty pleased with it. I have to tweak the equalizer on iTunes a lot to get the audio to not be distorted in the high end, but that's not bad for a $35 amp (on sale) and $55 speakers from Parts Express. The LED on that amp is insanely bright. It lights up my whole kitchen at night. I now have my path to the bathroom fully illuminated with LEDs on devices. I have my Apple Time Capsule wall mounted in the bathroom so the green power LED shines right in the toilet. So this kind of seems right for my idiom.
Here's some finished project closeups. The underside of the loft is only 6'8" high so I can actually reach the back of the mini to pull out a camera memory card while seated.
I tested this HP 6mp laser printer with the new mini running Lion yesterday. I'll be damned if it didn't just work! I am floored by this. I bought this printer new in about 1997, before USB was even invented. I think I paid as much for it as my Subzero refrigerator. It works with Mac OS7 and everything since. When I got my first USB powerbook I bought an $80 Belkin cable with a parallel connector on one end and a USB connector on the other. There was a setting in the old OS to pick the kind of connection you had, parallel, etc., and I was surprised as hell back then that it worked. I'm still surprised it works every time I get a new computer. At least seven different computers and every Apple OS works with this printer. You turn on the printer, connect to a USB port, boot up the computer, it sees the printer, and prints to it! It made an HP 6mp.app automatically. I searched the finder for HP 6mp to find it. I set the driver to the generic HP PCL driver and then ran Apple Software Updates. It automatically retrieved new Lion drivers from HP! I selected the HP Laserjet 6mp driver and now I think I've got the best I can get. I am still pretty staunchly paperless. I did without a printer at all in Austin for over a year. But as a hermit I might need to print out labels with bar codes so the UPS man can just pick up whatever I decide to sell on eBay. It can live under the ladder until I need it. I have no intention of ever buying another printer again, ever.
I made a video to show the range of motion of my new set-up.
Bill of Materials:
Ceiling Plate, Chief Mfg. CMA102, Quantity 2 (I put one on the bottom too because I thought it looked better than a pole ending in threads.)
Fixed Extension Column, 36", Chief Mfg. CMS036
Pole Mount Accessory Shelf, Chief Mfg. PAC102B
Dual Arm H/A Pole Mount, Chief Mfg. KPG110B
2.5 GHz Mac mini
DTA-1 audio amp
I got the speakers and mounting brackets years ago. I don't see the same kind of mounting brackets anymore. The speakers are similar to these.
MTX Monitor 5i bookshelf speakers