I have a bad habit of letting mail pile up on my desk. Bills go between the keyboard and monitor and are, in theory, routinely dealt with. Junk mail hits the trash about weekly or sooner. The in-between stuff just piles up to the right of my mousepad: various credit offers, holiday cards, medical paperwork, instruction booklets, handwritten notes for stories or about interesting music or items I might want to buy.
It's a recipe for clutter. The pile grows and grows, occluding pen and pencil containers (a corned beef can and a soup can, washed, deburred and sprayed with clear enamel; a nifty urn-shaped jar that once held olives; the cap/cup from a defunct Thermos and a toothbrush rack that hold fancy fountain pens) and hiding tools and projects -- a math book by the brilliant Bill Eddy, Arch Brolly and others; a set of Brush Development Co. crystal headphones with a bad element from which I hope to salvage the good one to repair my crystal microphone;* the soft paintbrush I use to clean the keyboard and which I have been very puzzled about misplacing, since it was right around here somewhere.
All of which I have sorted and uncovered, starting last night with a first pass to separate paid bills, "keeper" papers, insurance receipts and checking/credit statements into individual piles. Those piles were further sorted and disposed of this morning starting about 9:00 and I am only now, as the clock approaches 1:00 p.m., able to get to the keyboard to log on and post something.
Make that the the recently-cleaned keyboard. Sure happy to find that paintbrush!
* Nothing doing -- both elements are broken. I'll have to keep an eye open for another. Turning crystal "cans" into microphones is a simple 1930s ham radio trick that works very well. It's roughly contemporary with the Astatic D-104 crystal microphone, a classic that was made well into the 21st Century, and that's no accident: the two hams who founded Astatic had a friend who worked at Brush. The three of them were interested in making affordable microphones for amateur use and at the time, Brush was not -- but the company was happy to sell them Rochelle-salts crystal transducers. The result was an enduring product. However, while the product (or products -- Brush crystal headphones were the only "hi-fi" option until Koss came along) was enduring, the crystals themselves are fragile and sensitive to heat, humidity and applied voltage, so these days, it can take a little looking.
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