Just get rid of it and get a new one

When we moved last year, we faced the daunting task of disposing of almost all of our stuff. To give you an idea, when we moved from Michigan to Colorado, we shipped 17,000 pounds of stuff . . . and that’s after we got rid of a lot of stuff in Michigan. 

After eleven years in Colorado, we had, if anything added to the stuff we owned. 

That photo has nothing to do with what I’m writing about . . . it’s there for the people who barely glance at the blog.

Anyway, readers might get the idea we are massive pack-rats . . . but that idea can be cast aside based on the fact we got rid of nearly everything we owned. 

So, why did we have so much stuff? 

. . . a couple of reasons; want to hear them?

Early on in life, we figured out there was an advantage to buying quality stuff. As a result of our buying habits, the accumulation of stuff was — in part — due to things lasting a long time. Not only lasting but still working and still in near-pristine condition. 

In that regard, we were somewhat like packrats, but the basis for it was that we could not bear to throw away stuff that was perfectly serviceable. 

Where am I going with this? 

As usual, I’m lamenting a time gone by. A time when things were purchased and maintained for the long-haul.

Why do I bring this up? A little over three years ago — after the price of razor blades got just plain silly — I bought an electric razor. A Norelco A880 series that takes HQ8 shaving heads. The razor cost me $60 and came with a set of replacement heads. They heads are meant to be changed after 12 months, but for me, each set went closer to 18 months.

I’m due for replacing the heads and went online to find a set. The cheapest I found cost $29.95 . . . but they have been out of stock for the past two months. The next cheapest run $34.95. Wait, I lie . . . there are some Chinese knockoffs that run $13 . . . but let’s remember a moment what I said about cheap stuff. 

Costco had a razor — a better model than the one I own — on sale for $64 and it came with a spare set of shaving heads (they do not fit my current razor). 

So, for less than the price of two replacement heads for my razor, I could buy a new razor with two brand new shaving heads. I brought out my calculator . . . and I got sad . . . 

The last digit on the LCD display was missing two segments. Actually, the middle segment is also not working. The calculator works, but I can’t read the last number. I can narrow it down, but can’t know for sure what it might be . . . unless it’s a zero.

Now, often, LCD displays malfunction because the contacts get dirty or loose. I open the calculator . . . 

Well, crap . . . it’s not a plug. It’s a cheap printed sheet glued in there. I examine it closely . . . 

. . . and I don’t see any break or damage to the circuit. Perhaps if I had paid more attention in my electronic circuits class — way back in 1974 — I might know what to do, but as far as I can tell, this puppy has had it. 

My electronic circuits class . . . at that time, I was still using a clunky calculator I had bought at Goldblatt’s Department Store. All it did was basic math (multiply, divide, add, subtract). For everything else, I used a slide ruler. That class required — required!— a calculator with more functions. I bought a Texas Instruments SR-50

Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Most “serious” engineering students had HP calculators that used Reverse Polish notation. RPN was an affront to the way my mind worked. Proponents would argue it was more powerful and blah, blah, blah . . . I hated it, and still do. My brain does not work like that. 

Plus, if you typed .07734 on the SR-50 and then rotated the calculator 180º, the display would read “heLL0.” Modern calculators put in a leading zero, so the best you can do is “heLL.0” . . . and, yes; you could leave out the zero. There were other things you could with upside-down numbers that looked like letters. LEDs are better at it than LCDs; LED numbers and letters were indistinguishable from each other. 

The SR-50 lasted me through the 80s but by 1991 I needed something that did a bit more and I bought the Casio fx-115d, solar powered with a backup battery for when the light was too low to drive the calculator; the calculator whose guts I’m showing you in these photos.

At that time, most engineers I knew were buying big HP calculators that were programmable, had graphing functions, and I think some of them even made coffee. The Casio was fine for me. 

When I bought it, I inscribed the back with the same mottos I had on the back of the TI SR-50. I did not do a great job, but those vertical lines made for a difficult writing surface.

They are nearly worn off so I will read them to you:

“Life is short but that’s good because it sucks.”

“Never let go of anything until you have a hold of something else.”

This calculator is now of little use to me. It will hang around my desk for a little while, and eventually, I will force myself to discard it. 

I now use my phone. After an exhaustive search, I found an app I like, RealCalc. You know what? The display even looks a bit like the Casio’s face plate. For a few bucks, I bought the “pro” version.

 RealCalc Scientific Calculator- screenshot thumbnail

The app even lets you switch to RPN . . . although why anyone would is still beyond me. 

Anyway, I used RealCalc and confirmed my mental calculation about the cost of the replacements heads versus the cost of a new razor with one set of replacements heads . . .

. . . and I bought me a brand new razor.  

It seems a waste, but I’ll donate the old one to a thrift shop and maybe someone will find a use for it. Really, I prefer shaving with shaving cream and a regular razor because it shaves closer. With most electric razors, no matter how smooth I think I got it, my beard is like sandpaper within a few hours of shaving. Kind of annoying when I put on sunblock, but such are the adversities of life when one is too cheap to buy regular razors. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.


Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
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Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Finally, if you interpret anything on this blog as me asking or wanting pity, encouragement, or advice to better my life, know my subtle mix of irony, sarcasm, and humor is blowing right by you.

About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
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16 Responses to Just get rid of it and get a new one

  1. Eddy Winko says:

    I had hoped it would be fixable, shame. I used an old electric razor, after adapting it, to act as a air remover from plaster when I made chess sets many years ago. The vibrating head could be placed against the latex mould and the air bubbles would rise to the surface. If it wasn’t for high postage cots you could have sent me the razor and I could start making chess sets again!


    • disperser says:

      Had I the ambition, I would likely find a use for it, but none of my current interests involve electric motors and rotating heads.

      And yes, mailing it would be expensive. Also, there are restrictions to mailing rechargeable batteries. I could be labeled a terrorist for wanting to bring down a cargo airplane.

      You could make chess sets anyway and sell the bubbles as design features.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. oneowner says:

    I have a Casio I bought in the mid-’80s, mostly for the statistical functions and it still works fine but I find myself using the phone calculator more these days. I only shave once a week so a 6 pack of disposables lasts me a year. Soon there’ll be no more environmental restrictions and I can shave more often.


    • disperser says:

      I like the phone calculator, but my phone is usually locked (locks automatically after a minute) and it’s more convenient having a dedicated calculator.

      The calculator in Win10 is pretty good and has a lot of interesting and useful versions. I don’t like having the keyboard separate from the calculator, and I don’t like using the mouse to poke at the on-screen keys (I don’t have — or want — a touch screen).

      Basically, I’m old and set in my ways. Also, I hate change that is forced on me by things outside my control.

      Also, I’m old and set in my ways. Wait . . . did I already say that? I don’t remember.


    • disperser says:

      As for shaving, I used to have a beard, and as soon as it turns all white (or more uniformly gray) I will again. I hate shaving.

      I’ve not found a disposable razor that I like. Plus if I wait more than a few days, regardless of the razor, it’s an uncomfortable shave.

      Basically, I’m old and set in my ways.


  3. Razor and calculators and stuff…oh my!

    I’ve never seen a calculator opened up before!
    Sad it can’t be fixed. Will you give it a proper burial? It served you well.

    My oldest is going to be 37 soon and he bought himself a calculator when he was 6 years old. He didn’t take it with him when he went to college (he had a w-a-y better calculator by then), so I “inherited” his old/first one. I used it for 20+ years. Finally I gave it back to him…he thought it was funny that I still had it…as far as I know it still works today.

    Love that photo at the top! Wowza! So beautiful! :-)

    HUGS and Happy Friday!!! :-)


    • disperser says:

      That photo is a reworking of a photo from before I had the blog. It’s from Castlewood Canyon State Park in Colorado:

      Until we moved, I had a number of old calculators; regular calculators without the scientific functions. I kept one that’s usually hanging around the counter in case we need to do some quick “figuring”.

      As for a proper burial, I would like to give it a Viking funeral, but I don’t have a boat. I could give it a Mafia sendoff, but I would have to buy a baseball bat . . . plus, it doesn’t have knees.

      . . . it will probably just go to some great recycling heap.

      Happy St. Patrick day and have a great weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve never used a calculator of any description in my life, simple adding machine excepted, never needed to!

    Now after reading this lot of stuff I’m glad, as for an electric razor.

    I did use one. Once! Then tossed it out, I’m still lathering up, I still use the good old shaving brush , bugger that stuff that get squeezed out of a can, and enjoy giving myself the full hot towel treatment.

    Now thats a shave that real men, have for real beards!

    We’re a dying breed! Not many of us left!


    • disperser says:

      You must be a math savant . . . although, I might argue that you are using a calculator more powerful than what was used to send men to the moon.

      As for shaving, when I used a razor, I would just use regular soap. All that fancy lathering up stuff is for wimps.

      . . . and, we’re all dying breeds . . . every last one of us.


      • thought you wasn’t a pedantic snob?
        and cold water to boot no doubt! :)
        This thing might be a calculator to some but not me I hate numbers, the only figures I can abide are two legged ones,


      • disperser says:

        I’m told I do snob and pedantic well, so I imagine combining the traits would be a facile effort.

        You hate numbers, eh? I seem to remember a number of posts where you proudly share your palindromic skill in numbers.


  5. My eyes did glaze over at the razor and calculator information, so I appreciate the photo at the top. :) However, it looks like a painting. Is that an effect you applied to a photo?


    • disperser says:

      No, that’s a photo as shot . . . the reason it looks like that is because I made your eyes glaze over . . .

      Kidding; yes, that is a post-processing through two Topaz Plugins: Impressions and Glow.

      Here’s the original photo:

      A different composition of the same place and view.


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