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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Geek Store
Sciplus is a geek store. This website is flypaper for eyeballs and also money. A few things caught my eye ...

6-piece tweezer set -- different styles, but all in metal, if you're tired of fucking around with the stupid plastic ones in stores today

Aluminum heat sink -- included for amusement value is this robot toilet. Our bodies give off organic waste, theirs give off waste heat, and they feel pretty much the same about getting rid of it: something kind of embarrassing that's better off hidden and spoken of in euphemisms. For humans, it's a great holder of narrow things. Sentient robots love human toilets for planters.

Binoculars -- cheap and tough, but no idea how good they actually are.

Bronze-glazed human skull bank -- technically for storing coins, but probably more useful as an art object or an art model. That high-gloss surface looks like it would provide fantastic challenge for drawing or painting, because it will pick up the light and shadows all around it. Novice artists in particular benefit from a good collection of still-life items.

Button kit -- not the permanent press kind, the pop-together kind. Make your own social alert buttons.

Camp cooking kit -- a lot of nice pieces for a reasonable price. If you backpack, be aware it doesn't list the weight, but those folding handles suggest this is real wilderness gear.

Color-coded velcro straps -- for bundling cables, marking objects, etc.

Color-coded wristwatch -- uses colors instead of numbers to show time. The metal casing looks really cool, but is minimally compatible with magic.

Craft holder -- a gadget with several clips and springs, and a magnifying glass, to hold small things for you. This version has lights. Here is a more elaborate version for soldering. For those of you without farmemory and spacefaring experience, this is a standard tool for dexterity-limited species, like people who only have one hand or a mouth to manipulate things. And the moment anyone else sees that gadget, they copy it, because nobody ever thinks they have enough hands. Not something I have an immediate need for, but possibly useful for future reference.

Extendable handle -- no tool on the end yet, so you can stick on whatever you want to extend.

Furniture moving kit -- a lever and set of trolleys to move heavy objects. Levers are extremely useful; one of our most-used outdoor tools is a giant prybar. Have you ever struggled to get a heavy item up a step into the door? Use a lever and fulcrum, it's much easier than lifting the damn thing by hand.

Geek kit -- a collection of tiny tools for modifying things.

Hand-crank emergency tool -- flashlight, radio, siren, USB charger all powered by elbow grease.

Kill a Watt meter reader -- tells how much energy a device uses, very handy for reducing your carbon footprint and saving money. Modern appliances tend to be ridiculous energy hogs.

Paracord survival bracelet -- a convenient way to store a very useful thing.

Pendant magnifying glass -- perfect for archivists, hobby-scientists, and other geeks. I've been seeking one of these for a while, so I put it on my wishlist.

Pocket microscopes -- my most-used exploratory tool. I have a different model on my wishlist somewhere.

Portable screen door -- good for keeping bugs out when camping or at home.

Rock hammer -- originally intended for rockhounds, but also a sturdy working tool for hammering and an unparalleled emergency tool for rescue work. You won't find a better icebreaker if you like to work with block ice.

Self-adhesive rubber treads -- standard use is for traction to avoid slipping on steps or ramps. Alternative use is a textured material for wayfinding without sight. Unlike treads designed for the bathroom, this one is rugged enough to use outdoors on decks, patios, etc. Remember that you don't have to rely purely on your own skills, you can modify your environment to assist you.

Side table with magazine rack -- this table has a magazine rack on its base, helping it stay put, and the offset overhang of the top makes it more accessible if you need roll-under space.

Soft twist tie roll -- padded, flexible wire you can cut to desired length. Once upon a time, farmers used baling wire as an all-purpose fastener more ubiquitous than duct tape is today. This is like that, but less strong and more comfortable to use. An excellent addition to any home fix-it kit.

Soil test kit -- covers the 3 main nutrients plus pH. Requires good color vision.

Spanner wrench -- a handle with two movable prongs, for prying the back or lid off something ... don't drop one down a starship engine.

Strandbeest kit -- a wind-powered robot that walks. Tempting, although I'd want to do some comparison shopping on this one.

Survival kit -- tiny, affordable, and full of useful things.

Tetris puzzle -- an excellent choice for emotional first aid kits, this requires no electricity and doesn't make noise. Stacking-sorting games assist with memory filing to reduce the chance of developing PTSD or untangle it after the fact. This also makes a fun fidget in general. These look nicely made, but they are cheap enough (and have a bulk discount) to give away, so they're good for things like funerals or care packages.

Thief's mirror, rectangular -- a swiveling mirror on a telescoping handle, useful for seeing around corners or under things where you won't fit or you're not sure it's safe to go. This version is round.

Trench tool -- also known as a folding camp shovel, a fantastic piece of survival gear. This is very prudent to keep around if you live in areas prone to wildfires, floods, earthquakes, or violent storms although the exact uses vary by disaster.

Triops -- grow your own dinosaur shrimp. This version offers a choice between ghost or giant species. They're much bigger than "sea monkeys" so you don't need a magnifier to see them. I confess I'm a bit tempted by this one.

Water test kit -- covers 10 parameters, single use. Just in case you don't trust what other people say is or isn't in the water, or if your safety parameters differ from the government standard. (One of my divergences: anything that kills fish is not safe to drink.)

Wire jig -- an allpurpose tool for bending narrow things.

Zipper flashlight -- meant to hang on zipper pulls, but also ideal for phones, purses, or anywhere else that has a little lanyard hole for hooking things into.

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