Sunday, August 14, 2011

DIY: Install your own dimmer switch!

Save power - and create instant mood lighting - by installing a dimmer switch on your existing household light swtiches (this does not require any technical proficiency, and should take you about 20 min max). Here's what you need to do:

Step 1: Turn Off the Power

Shut off the power at the circuit breaker or fuse box (double check that the power is really turned off by flipping the switch on and off to make sure there is no flowing current flowing through the line)

Step 2: Remove the Switch Plate and Box

Once the power is off, remove the existing switch plate using a screwdriver.
Remove the screws that keep the switch attached to the box.
Disconnect existing wiring from the box and remove the box (always unscrew the grounding wire last).

Step 3: Attach the Dimmer and Finish Installation

There will be three wires: one black, one white, and a separate ground wire that may be bare copper or sometimes wrapped in green. Identify the three different colored wires and attach the dimmer with their matching counterparts (Connect the black wire to the black wire, etc). Use pliers to gently twist the ends of the wires together and then secure them together with a wire nut until it is tight and won't turn anymore.
Carefully push the wires back into the electrical box.
Screw the new dimmer switch to the electrical box and then replace the cover plate.

...and you're done! Instant sexy-time lighting slash energy conservation. Pat yourself on the back.

Monday, August 8, 2011

UbuWeb - for all things avant-garde

For those so inclined, UbuWeb is a great resource we used in Modernisms class:
 a database dedicated to all strains of the avant-garde, ethnopoetics, and outsider arts
(with lots of hard-to-find film and audio clips to boot...)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

God Grew Tired of Us

Just watched this feel-good documentary, thought it was worth passing on: "God Grew Tired of Us: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan" (2006). I don't know why Nicole Kidman was narrating, but the film is not nearly as pro-American-patronizing as one might suspect from the trailer, nor is it as one-dimensional (no "wow, electricity is so great, how did I ever live without it?! God bless America!"), - although it IS very entertaining to watch the Sudan boys encounter North American culture for the first time (I particularly enjoyed their confusion over who this "Santa" character is - "is Santa also in the bible?!" If anything, I found their interpretation of the meaning of Christmas more inspirational than ours...).

Monday, August 1, 2011

Speaking of vertical gardens...

...a cool living-wall i saw in the CBD of Perth, Australia (on a trendy restaurant).

DIY: Turn a skid into a vertical garden

You’ll need: 
- a wooden skid                           - a staple gun
- 2 large bags of potting soil        - optional: fertalizer
- a small roll of landscape fabric  - about 16 6-packs                                                  of annual flowers/plants

Staple the landscaping fabris to the frame, covering the sides and the bottom - leave the top open for plants (reinforce at each plank).

Fill with dirt (while horizontal/slightly angled).

Add plants. Water. Stand up - Voila!