Author Archives: ajuenemann

Pop tab Coin Purse

I’m excited about this one.

same pattern, two different designs

same pattern, two different designs

These little guys are coin purses made from pop tabs. I got the urge to try this after watching the following videos on youtube.


Youtube strikes again!

If you watched the above video, you’ll see some differences between them and the coin purses I made. The first time I did this project I followed the pattern to almost a T.

Hey, no place in town sold Espiga Rayon thread. And I didn’t feel like shopping over the internet to find any. That time I used Cotton crochet thread from Aunt Lydia.

When I completed the project I didn’t like how it looked with the sides being made of the pop tabs. I looked nothing like the picture shown in the video. In the end I pulled that project.Cotton crochet thread pop tab coin purse

This time around I skipped the  middle section and crocheted the two side together. I like this look much better to tell the truth.

Once again I used Aunt Lydia crochet thread for the dusty red one. But to try something new, I used Plarn on the second one.

The one  I did with the crochet thread had a more 3D shape to it. I think it looks more like a flower than a coin purse. I think if I were to change how the sides are connected to the pop tabs it might look more like a coin purse.

I did try starting the sides at the top of the pop tabs on another project. It made it look more like the plarn shape.

Plarn pop tab coin pursePersonally, the one made of plarn is my favorite. It lays flat like the one in the video and its more earth friendly that its thread counterpart.

What should I try next?

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Spring Break!


Even though I’m not going anywhere for spring break, I still think we should enjoy the week.

Granted, my break is probably going to look more like this:

Than this:

In honor of my last Spring break as a student, SurvivingFreeTime is taking a weeks vacation. I’ll see you all next week!

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Helpful Plant: Tarragon

Before there were pharmacies and pills there were plants. Everything that grows can hurt or heal.

Disclaimer: This post is meant to educate and should not be used in replacement of actual medical advice.

About Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)

Tarragon illustration

This is a shrubbry with a wooden stem that can grow up to three feet tall. It is part of the Plantae kingdom, Asterales order,Asteraceae Family, Artemisia genus.

It is a garden herb that was originally found in Siberia and North-West America. The most Common use is a spice for cooking.

Medical Uses

Tarragon can be made into an infusion which is good for issues with the urinary tract. It can also help with flatulence and  bloating.


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Ghost Hound

Let me start out that this anime did it’s homework on the subject matter it deals with. Ghost Hound deals with the “hidden realm” and the realms of Psychology, where reality and the spiritual collide.

The story revolves around a little town called Suiten, the odd things that develop as three boys try to dig up the facts on a crime 11 years old, and abandoned hospital swallowed by the Suiten Dam.


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The first main character is Taro, the son of the local brewer. When Taro was 3 years old he and his sister were kidnapped. Only he survived. Now 11 years later Taro is Narcoleptic, having Out of body experiences or OBEs and reoccurring nightmares. When Masayuki suggest getting a little exposure therapy at the place where Taro and his sister were held, the tree boys take their first steps into the Hidden realm.

Masayuki is the new kid in town who transferred from Tokyo when the “Japan Bio Tech” company moves into their new facility. He tries to make friends with Taro and Makoto by investigating the kidnapping incident. Although he gets ignored by the other two to start, they eventually warm up to him and become decent friends. Masayuki suffers from a fear of heights which he combats by using exposure therapy via a head mounted display virtual reality game. In the Hidden realm Masayuki evokes the weapons that he has in his game to defeat the spirit of Taro’s kidnapper that had been stuck in a loop of his last moments on earth.

Makoto is the brooding member of the group and also is a relative of Taro’s.  It was Makoto’s grandmother who told police where they might find Taro and his sister. His father committed suicide shortly after Taro was found and returned home. Because Makoto was the one to find his father’s bloody corpse, he now wishes to use the hidden realm to find out the facts on why his father killed himself.

As the anime goes on Makoto learns how to change the form he takes when in the hidden realm, towards the end his shape is that of a red eyed wolf hound.

At first he is cold to both Taro and Masayuki but after the course of a few trips to the hidden realm and learning more about the kidnapping 11 years ago he warms up to the other boys. His favorite pass time is playing the guitar.

Joining the boys is Miyako. Unlike the boys she is unable to travel to the hidden realm. To make up for that she can see the boys when they are having their OBE and on occasion she is possessed by the passing ghost. She lives at a shrine with her father and helps him with exorcisms when the need arises. She is a very mature character even though she is the youngest member in the group.

Things get a little rocky between her and Taro about half way through this anime. Taro gets it in his head that Miyako is the reincarnation of his sister. Let’s just say that she didn’t take it too well. After the big showdown at the end of the series Taro and Miyako manage to make up.


Those are the main players in this anime. However they are still just kids. Let’s talk about the adults a little.

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Takahito is Miyako’s father and priest at the local shrine. In his spare time he works for the University of Tokyo. When he was younger he was part of the first group to visit the village swallowed by the dam.

At the start of the anime taro is introduced to his new counselor, Hirata  This is the source of most of the technical terms when it comes to psychology. Like Takahito he works at the University of Tokyo and commutes once a week to see Taro at his school.

When Taro starts to report his OBEs to Hirata he attributes it to a scientific explination. That starts to change when he starts experiencing things for himself.

Joining Hirata in the techno speak is Reika Otori.  She is a part time Scientist at the Japan Bio-Tech and part time doctor.

Himeko Ogami  is also a bigger adult to mention. When Taro and his sister were kidnapped 11 years ago, it was Himeko who suggested in searching at the hospital behind the dam.

She is the current head of the Ogami religious sect. It is her wish that Makoto will take over for her in time. Only Makoto has no interest in it, much link his father before him.


This anime is a neat twist of two way to think about our personal experiences. If you have taken a psychology 101 course you’ll feel right at home here. Even if you know nothing about psychology, the anime does a nice job of keeping everyone on the  same page.

There is a manga to this but its incomplete and I doubt it will be finished. It’s titled: Shinreigari: Another Side There are only two chapters and the last update was in 2008. I would have loved to see where this could have gone. we may never know.

Even if the Manga will never be finished, ghost Hound should be added to your watch list.


Categories: Otaku Korner | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Money matters: Entertainment

Entertainment can be a sucker for your hard earned dollars. Take a night at the movies for two people:

  • Movie tickets: $8.50 each
  • Concessoins: $5.00 each (conservative)
  • Transportation to movie
  • Pre/post movie meal

This could easily be a $27.00 date.

If you need to tighten the financial belt there is a way to cut costs but not fun.

  • Check Community Events

Most cities have a place for residents to check on upcoming events. If there is a school nearby and the students are putting on a play or recital, consider stopping by.

  • Score local deals

I’ve seen them, you’ve probably seen them too. Your favorite restaurant has appetizers half off after 9pm. That bar your friends frequent has two-for-one happy hours between 4-6 and 9-11.

This option might take a little more looking but it would be worth your time.

Consider going to an afternoon movie instead of the night showing. This option could shave $2 off of each ticket, depending on the theater. Some theaters also have one day a week where the tickets are cheaper. Friday night Premiers are fun and exciting but the movie will be around for a bit. It’s ok to wait to see it

  • Libraries

These places are great for free entertainment. They either have events of their own going on, are hosting a community or at the very least have plenty of borrow-able entertainment options.

Instead of buying that new book, get on the list to borrow it for free. The same can be said for Magazines and movies.

  • Streaming media

A starter plan for TV channels can hover around $40 a month. The number of channels varies by provider, but out of those how many channels will you watch and how often will you be around to watch? Both Netflix and Hulu+ cost $8 a month. You could also share the subscription with a friend and lower the cost even more.

If you don’t want to pay a penny, Hulu can also be free, but your options are restricted a little. Coke and Popcorn is good for running and discontinued shows. And if you like anime and cartoons try Watch Cartoons Online.

  • Staying in

Who says you have to go out to have a good time? Get a couple of friends together for a potluck and a movie someone already owns.

Converse over a pot of coffee with home cooked snacks. Better for you and your wallet.

Consider a family game night.


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Machu Pichu

Sunday 3/15/09 Machu Pichu

This day started out early. I had an alarms set for 3am and Madison had one for 1:20am. Early, looking back now that’s an ungodly time to get up. But that was OK. Because we were going to one of the world wonders: Machu Pichu.

To catch an early morning train up the mountain, the group was asked to meet that the mercado at 4:30am. My 3am alarm made more sense than Madison’s 1:20.

As soon as the bus started moving Madison fell right back to sleep. I stayed up for a bit watching the city lights pass by. I did doze off but when I woke back up the sun rise looked pink through the fogged up window. Priceless.

The train we were taking up the mountain served a boxed breakfast on the way up and a dinner on the way down. I passed on the breakfast. The ride took a couple hours, give or take.

Buses race back and forth on that skinny road

Buses race back and forth on that skinny road

From the buses we had to make our way through a market to get to the buses that would take us up the rest of the way. These buses would go racing back and forth up the mountain. When two of them would meet on the road you could have stuck your hand out the window and high-fived the other bus. And I thought the drivers in Cuzco were crazy!

You would think that when you get to a world wonder there would be a grand sense of Ahh. When we got to the top and off that crazy bus, I didn’t get that sense right away. Why would there be Ahh if the first thing to see is a restaurant? And pay phones, a jewlery bathroom and a spot with lockers? A let down… just a little.

Our group was given their tickets and we proceeded to a house on the path where we had to sign a visitors book and have our passports looked at. When everyone was through, we were on our way to the hidden ruins.

I say hidden because at the time of the Spanish invaders, it couldn’t bee seen. And when it was found again in the 1900’s trees and vegetation had totally taken over the place.

This place was huge! It had been estimated that 600-1000 people lived in the “fortified” city at one time. when it was abandoned 80% of the bodies found were women. That brings up questions like: Why were there more women than men?

At the time there were three theories given to the group. The first was that this city had been a home to virgin women of the Sun. Another suggested that them men had left to go fight the invaders. A third theory about aliens was tossed in for giggles.

When Mauch Pichu was found again, people found mummified bodies and thought that the Spanish had been there. The skeletons showed that the poeple hadn’t gotten enough calcium in life. There were skulls that had holes and cracked jaw bones. It was also found that many of the women had syphilis.

The first things we saw were the houses of the nobility. Some suggest that Machu Pichu wasn’t a completed city when it was abandoned. The reason for this is because of the open quarry right behind the houses of the nobility.

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From there we saw the religious square. Here the buildings were in the shape of a cross. I should clarify which type of cross it was. When most people think cross they think of the christian interpretation. Here is was more along the lines of a plus sign.

Next was the industrial houses. When the city was re-found they found tools, including a stone abacus.

You could take a thousand picture of Machu Pichu, but they will never do it the justice it deserves. You really have to go there to get the full feel of the place.

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After the main tour the group split in two. One half would follow a guide to the sun temple while the other would explore the city further on their own. Madison and I chose the sun temple.The trip from the city up to the temple takes about 45 minutes to an hour to complete.

At first I regretted going to the temple. Don’t get me wrong. It was fun and hard, but I was slow. So I didn’t get to hear all the cool facts… Even if I didn’t get great pictures of Machu Pichu and learn cool things, I at least go braggin’ rights. I climbed 2,000ish steps, in the rain almost by myself.

When we got down  from the temple it was time for lunch. The group was to eat at a place Toto’s House, which was back in the market. Another crazy bus ride separated us from the food.

I can’t remember what I had for lunch. I do remember that there were four men singing for the guests as they ate. As we were leaving I bought a CD from them.

After  Lunch we were given our train tickets for the ride home. The whole group didn’t make it on the first train. One adult and half the group, myself included, would be taking the later train. This was a good and bad thing. Good because it would give us more time to look around, Bad because it gave us time to look around and shop.

I ended up finishing my shoping for gifts in this market- although I did wonder about getting something for the grandparents. Little cousins and immediate family members are easy, even friends are easier to shop for than grandparents at times. I was a Peruvian shop-o-hollic.

As we were shopping and it was starting to get dark a rumor started floating around that the chaperon for the second train had left on the first one leaving us remaining students high and dry.  Naturally those of us left behind had minor freak-outs. Thankfully this rumor had no truth to it. The sigh of relief was audible.  I’m pretty sure if he had left on the other train he would have gotten some choice words from us students next time we saw him.

The train ride and walk home were uneventful.


As an adult I wouldn’t mind going back to Machu Pichu and taking a slower look at things. If this post has put the travel bug in your brain below are some of the sites I’ve been looking at to plan my return trip.


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This Day in History

Ulysses S. Grant

1872 President Ulysses S. Grant signs legislation creating Yellostone as the first National Park. The law made it so that all animals, minerals, timber and natural curiosities, such as Old Faithful would remain in the natural state for generations to come.

Yellowstone was the first National Park in the United States and the world.

Watch Old faithful

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How much do we need?

Ever look at the nutrition box on a package of food?

It lists

  • Calories
  • Total Fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium and maybe Potassium

And if you are lucky it will tell you how much Fiber, Protein and what kind of vitamins are in it too. But what do those percentages really mean? Just how much of those things should we have on a daily basis?

That’s not such an easy question to answer. There are differences in the recommended numbers depending on your age and gender.


Let’s start with how many Calories you should have a day. For this the factors are:

  • Age, height and gender
  • Daily activity level

According to calorie counter, CalorieKing, I should be eating 1500-1700 calories a day to maintain my weight. Most of the nutritional fact boxes factor for a 2200 calorie intake.

Total Fats

Fats are a toughy for most of us to balance out. I’ve heard, and you’ve probably heard too, that there are two types of fats: the good and the bad. So whats a good fat and whats a bad fat? breaks it down nicely. But here’s  the break down:

Types of Fats

  • monounsaturated fats (good fats)
  • polyunsaturated fats (good fats)
  • trans fats (bad fats)
  • saturated fats (bad fats)

Good Fats

Monounsaturated fat Polyunsaturated fat
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
  • Peanut butter
  • Soybean oil
  • Corn oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds
  • Flaxseed
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)
  • Soymilk
  • Tofu

Bad Fats

Saturated fat Trans fat
  • High-fat cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork)
  • Chicken with the skin
  • Whole-fat dairy products (milk and cream)
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Palm and coconut oil
  • Lard
  • Commercially-baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough
  • Packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips)
  • Stick margarine
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, breaded fish)
  • Candy bars

CalorieKing suggests that you should get 20-30 percent of your daily calories from fats.  Your total fat(the good and the bad) should be roughly 20-35 percent of those calories and the amount of the bad fats should only by 10 percent of that.


Most Americans are lacking in the fiber department. According to WebMD, Americans are getting an average of 15 grams a day. The average woman needs 25 grams and need 38 grams a day.

ways to get your fiber


This is what helps keep up muscle and helps to feel fuller longer. Protein is another thing that is effected by things such as age. WebMD breaks it down from babies to adults. However, women need 46 grams, 71 grams if they are nursing or pregnant, and men need 56 grams of protein a day. Here are 31 quick ways to get your daily intake.


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Really? They made a Dragonhart 3

This boggles my brain.

The first Dragonheart movie came out in 1996. It had brilliant actors such as Dennis QuaidDavid ThewlisPete PostlethwaiteDina Meyer and  Sean Connery as the voice of Draco.

I enjoyed this plot line. It made sense.

The second Dragonheart: A New Beginning came out 4 yerars later in 2000. Once again the plot line made sense. it followed a plossible plot hole left from the last one. Robby Benson, the same guy who voiced the Beast in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, was the voice of the dragon Drake. And Christopher Masterson was the stable boy turned knight. Again this made sense.

Now 15 years later! We get this.

Did any one else catch that? There is a space dragon!

Now granted I haven’t watched this direct to video movie yet. And this is just one opinion from someone who did not wish to see the good name if its predecessors tarnished. But let me say, so far I’m not impressed.

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Fusion Experiment

Here we go again with another post about recycled plastic. Seriously guys, if you starting getting sick of reading about all the cool things you can turn those shopping bags into let me know.

You have seen my first tries of working with the medium and what I’ve created with some of my own creative juices. What else could I possibly get myself into? What about something other than rugs?

What would happen if you could turn those lightweight plastic bags into a piece of wall art? I think I managed to do that. Take a look at this!

Fused plastic wall art

That my friends, is made of fused plastic bags with Walmart plarn for the letters. The idea for this project came as an assignment in my Digital Humanities class. We were asked to write something without using paper and ink.

I saw people who used coffee beans to spell out the “Our Father” prayer, pipe cleaners to say “hello” in 16 different languages. One person used a pizza box and newspaper clippings. But I fared to be different.

Fused plastic is a newer form of recycling. I only recently came across it and had been dying to try it out for myself. Threadbanger on Youtube had a video about making a computer bag out of fused plastic and I ran with the idea from there.

All I did was fuse 2 black garbage bags together with an iron on medium heat. The hard thing was getting the air bubbles out. Once it was fused I picked the words to stitch onto it.

During this time I had been listening to “Fly on the Wall” by Thousand Foot Crutch. Well, I really had been listening to the Nightcore version but the words are the same. Any who. I took part of the first verse as my words.

The other night I had a dream. There was a world full of Kings and Queens. But it was cold.

Originally I tried to use an embroidery needle to drive the plarn through the fused plastic. That didn’t work. Instead I needed to prime the fused plastic with a thumb tack. I poked the holes I needed to make the letters and then stitched them in.

The longest part of this project was the lettering. I thought I could crank it out in an hour or three before class. That didn’t happen. Thankfully, class had been cancelled for some odd reason and I got another week to complete it.

Now it’s your turn. What can you come up with?

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