The Toaster Project: Or a Heroic Attempt to Build a Simple Electric Appliance from Scratch

Thomas Thwaites chose an interesting thesis project: build an industrial object on your own from absolute start to finish.  He attempts this with sort of perverse success and good humour. He deconstructs an inexpensive toaster and then sets up his parameters. He travels to several places on a student’s budget for raw materials and resources several different people to gain ideas on how to manufacture a single toaster. While he is semi-successful in that he has semi-functional toaster, he is too afraid by its odd construction to turn it on.

The book is written in the same sort of voice as A.J. Jacobs. Mr. Thwaites struggles to sustain the voice through the whole book, even though the book is rather short.  The end seems rushed, possibly because he had a deadline for his thesis.

The Toaster Project: Or a Heroic Attempt to Build a Simple Electric Appliance from Scratch by Thomas Thwaites

men in black 3

Normally, a third sequel is a well run dry, but Men in Black 3 while not breaking new ground, was still a fun movie to watch. I like Will Smith movies, and this film is centered on Will Smith even more than the other Men in Black movies.  I love that Will Smith movies are not usually violent and usually end on a positive note.  He has a casual humor that he’s taken all the way from the Fresh Prince of Belle Aire.

The narrative, as with the other films, is simple and cartoonish.  The villain is distorted and perverse in an interesting way, but is given only enough time to crack a few jokes, not enough to become annoying.  I really enjoyed the scene when he interacts with himself, (time travel is involved) and the audience discovers that he is so awful even he can’t stand himself.

If I had any criticism, it would be that the aliens weren’t as inventive as in the other film.  I still chuckle a little when I think back on the scene in the post office when we (along with the movies’ characters) discover that nearly every one is an alien, or in the first MIB when they use the tabloids to find their alien activity.  Still, it is a worth while, enjoyable film to watch, although I think I could have waited until DVD for it, if it didn’t cross three of my favorites in one: Will Smith, sci fi and Men in Black.

Things I Learned from Knitting


Now, I am not sure if I read to many of her books in a row, but Things I Learned From Knitting: …whether I wanted to or not was not my favorite of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s books that I had read so far.  There are a few things that are recycled from the other books (or vice versus). This is a super easy read, but not very much depth.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

All wound up


Yes, after I read Yarn Harlot,  I went to the library and put all of Yarn Harlot’s books on hold.  This is why I have trouble with the 30 hold and check out limits.  Anyway,  All Wound Up: The Yarn Harlot Writes for a Spin, is just as funny as Yarn Harlot.  Again Stephanie Pearl-McPhee talks about the frustration of patterns, and the irritating questions non-knitters ask knitters.  I empathize with her stories about her knitting stories as they run very close to my quilting stories.

Ms. Pearl-McPhee also has a remarkable ability to laugh at daily life. She includes a story about her husband getting trapped in his pick up truck that is hilarious.  She also is able to capture with clarity those little voices we all  have, the petty ones that wonder why are people so unwittingly rude, as she makes up things to say to people’s odd questions when she knits in public.  She also reminds of the things our moms ingrained in us: that we should have a clean house, we should get dressed in the morning and so on.