Papermodel “Dog Trot” Kit v0.2

I spent some time with my pencil, paper, and ruler and measured out a basic kit for the “dog trot” papermodel toolshed living unit I designed. I started typing this post offline, but before I knew it, it had exploded into a mini documentary of what sustainable living is and how this design fits into it. It was way too complex for what I wanted. I simply wanted to present the model, it being what it is. I even lightly colored the base paper with color pencil to show the ground layout; the brick along the front and down the “breezeway”, the black represents the parking area, and green is grass.

One thing I must note is that this design is NOT a dog trot living unit. A dog trot design has all rooms under a single roof, with the breezeway being half the width of the front rooms. Since the pictures below show three toolsheds, this is simply a dog trot inspired design.


The Front View


The Front Perspective


The Back Left View


The Back Right View

I have not decided if I will make this version of the model available. The roofs are currently not part of the kit and it looks rather rough. I think I might refine it some more before releasing it. If anyone is interested in such a kit, please leave a comment. It might inspire me to work harder on it!



Buy Nothing Day

Black Friday is traditionally the largest shopping day of the year.  Retailers add to the hype with door buster offers and ridiculously early opening hours.  This year it seems that a majority of the retailers will open at 4am!  yes, 4am!  If you are crazy enough to go shopping at that hour, there is definitely something wrong with you!!   Then, to think that in the end, your car is crammed full of stuff that people probably already have and/or don’t need and your credit cards are maxed out, is just wrong.

But, this isn’t a post about crazy shoppers trying to get the last Pizza Elmo or save a few bucks at the expense of lost sleep.  No, this is about the opposite; protesting materialism, consumerism, and insane marketing.  Buy Nothing Day has been increasing in popularity, especially in the UK.  It is very simple, on Black Friday (this year, its November 23rd), don’t buy anything.  You can participate in this protest simply by not participating in the world’s busiest shopping day of the year. actually ask you to go one step further and consider a Buy Nothing Christmas.  Before you freak out, read the following quote from their website:

    “Buy Nothing Christmas is not really about refusing to spend a dime over the holiday season. It’s about taking a deep breath and deciding to opt out of the hype‚ the overcrowded malls‚ and the stressful to–do lists. It’s about reminding ourselves to really think about what we are buying‚ why we are buying it‚ and whether we really need it at all.”

Since every Christmas is a Buy Nothing Christmas for me, I will go one step further on Black Friday; not only will I not be buying anything, but I will also not start my car and consume any gas.  If I need to go anywhere, I will walk or ride my bike.

Here are some links to get you started:

Buy Nothing Day UK 

Buy Nothing Day via 

Words of Wisdom on Choice

I recently ordered an olive oil camp light from Lehman’s online store. I had been looking for an oil lamp for my disaster kit and decided on olive oil as a fuel since it burns totally clean, is quite bright compared to other oils and fats and can be grown on my own property. For $15, I am quite satisfied.

As part of my education about olive oil lamps, which have been used since the dawn of civilization, I also purchased a small booklet titled I Didn’t Know That Olive Oil Would Burn! by Merry Bickers. It is a wonderful guide to burning olive oil and also discusses other oils that can be burned in placed of olive oil, such as canola oil.

Even though I learned a lot about using olive oil as a fuel, this book ended with a captivating summary of our choice. On the last page, one paragraphed gripped me as it so eloquently described the situation that our society faces. From the book:

“People being the creatures of pleasure and comfort that they are, we believe it would be unreasonable to advocate the abandonment of petroleum and electrical lighting in favor of olive oil and other more earth-friendly light fuels. We do believe that everyone should learn about and think about the impact that technology has upon our world and consider how they can change their own habits to the betterment of our environment. Environmental decline is not the result of someone else’s corruption, but the sum total of all of our actions. We should think about how we are sold a lifestyle not because it benefits us, but because it speaks to our weaker natures, our willingness to follow rather than lead, and because it makes someone wealthy.”

Wow these very points have been on my mind for the past few months as I struggle with removing consumerism from my life. I no longer wish to be “sold a lifestyle” and want to do what I can to respect the earth that gives us life and appreciate the life I have without the constant corruption of false wants and peer pressure. These words are wisdom and sooner or later, the world will have to choose.

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to comment.

A new paper model project

I decided to give the ships a rest and build something a tad more personal.  While I was living in Texas a few years back, I visited the home of LBJ’s parents.  It is a dog-run style house with just a few rooms on either side of a breezeway.  Of course, the outhouse is in the back.  Traditionally, dog-run homes were merely two log cabins with a roof adjoining the two and a porch across the front. They were very simplistic and suited the Texas climate perfectly.

During this visit, I was going through a very simplistic phase of life.  I had decided that I didn’t want a big house and would be content with a “tool shed on acreage.” One day, I sat down and sketched a dog-run style house using pre-assembled tool sheds available from your local home improvement store.

Tool Shed Diagram

One of the best things about my design is that the bathroom is “indoors” and my kitchen would make any turn of the century kitchen look ancient. In fact, my kitchen is bigger than the bedroom.  I have not finalized the roof structure yet, but that may take shape as I build the model.  Between the “sheds” will be some type of patio, likely brick will space for plants and a garden.

Some of you may have read my previous posts on motivation.  This “structure” is one of those motivators.  I really want to see this built, whether out of paper or as a real thing. My mind is running wild with the details; the trim, colors, and exact layout. I think the bug has bitten…

Happiness is…

Happiness is…

… that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you are around good friends.

… that feeling of awe watching a Liberator do circles around the airport.

… the rich taste of cannoli smoothered in chocolate sauce slide across your tongue.

… sitting out under the stars in the cool evening breeze after a warm day.

… that remarkable feeling where you can conquer the world.

… listening to praise from your boss.

… that warm cozy feel of the sheets as you slip into bed and doze off to sleep after a productive day.

My Worth, According to My Employer

Sorry everyone, this is much more of a rant post than I thought I would be posting here, but here it goes:

“What is the value of an employee?  I got my merit increase at work and was insulted by it.  4.01% increase is not what I call a raise, especially given that I had near perfect scores on my review.  It was explained that the cap is 4.01% and people who scored lower got around 2.5 – 3.0 %…  yikes!!!   Clearly I was expecting quite a bit more based on my review.  But Corporate America has taken over this company.  The Board of Directors get multi-million dollar bonuses, but I get a few hundred for the entire year for busting my butt.  Well, no more busting my butt! I will say that I am happy I got something.  I do recognize the effort of having an increase, so I don’t want to sound like a bugaboo.”

To tie this into yesterday’s post about solipsism, I will discuss some points of view. From my perspective, the only one that exists, my mind came up with this raise and so the question is, maybe I feel like I am only worth 4.01% more than last year. Why? I need to work on my imagination so that I can create a situation where the Board hands me a multi-million dollar raise.  Its food for thought in my reality!

However, looking at it from the Board’s perspective, they must see money as their primary catalyst.  This is why they get lots of it and screw the other guy.  From their perspective its just business and I am a working slave.  However, I will never truly know what is on their minds.  That is the part of solipsism that can’t be denied.


Solipsism: My Own Reality

Solipsism is a philosophical concept where one’s mind is the only one that exists or can be known to exist. Only the self is real and reality only exists in one’s own thoughts. That is, we can never know someone else’s state of mind and their personal experiences can only be had through analogy. The individual creates the world they live in through their own mind and is, in a sense, a pigment of the imagination. It is a perfect contrast to materialism, where one is attached to the physical.

Sounds like an opening to the Twilight Zone….

Assuming that solipsism is true, everything I touch, feel, and taste is strictly a pigment of my imagination. If I am imagining this, then why do I imagine working all day and not image living like a king? However, I do believe that solipsism reinforces the idea that I live in a world that I can create and form into what I want it to be. Reality is what I make it through my attitude and actions. There are no preset milestones, no yellow brick roads to follow in life, and only myself to make decisions for, despite being a part of a globalized economy. My mind is a tool for interpreting the world; past, present and future.

If you are interested in reading more about solipsism, check out these links:
Solipsism at Wikipedia:
The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: